Sirni Zagovezni (Shrove Sunday) – a day for forgiveness


Sirni Zagovezni (Shrove Sunday) is one of the biggest traditional holidays in Bulgaria, connected with the Easter holiday cycle. Annually it is held seven weeks before the Resurrection Sunday. The whole week is also known like “Cheese Fasting” because this is the last day before the Long Lent.

Sirni Zagovezni (Shrove Sunday) customs

During the Shrove week – on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday people bind swings on the tree branches and the maids and the swains sway for health. On the last day of the week, they light bonfires and jump over them also with the aim of well-being.

According to the tradition, the whole family gathers together for the holiday dinner with have cheese pastry, ritual bread, cheese pumpkin, eggs, white halvah with nuts, fish.

One of the most impressive customs during the feast is “hamkane”. The oldest man in the house drops down and spins a piece of white halva or boiled egg tied with red thread. All family gathers together and try to catch it with mouth without using hands. Immediately after the “hamkane” ended, the thread lit with wishes for health.

Sirni Zagovezni is also a day for forgiveness. The people beg each other for absolution. According to the tradition, younger members of the family ask older to forgive their mistakes with the quote: “I am asking for an absolution, I’m giving an absolution”.


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