St. Lazarus’ Saturday

The day on which we celebrate the memory of St. Lazarus is in the week before the Resurrection of Christ. It carries the spring spirit and prepares us for the Paschal joy. Christ had a friend called Lazarus. He often visited him and his two sisters Martha and Maria. On Saturday, before His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, He passed by to visit them. They received him with tears and with the news that Lazarus had been dead for three days. Jesus went to his tomb and wanted them to move the stone. He said: „Lazarus, come out!” and he resurrected.

In the Bulgarian tradition St. Lazarus’ day is a women’s holiday. The unmarried girls adorn themselves with their best dresses and decorate their hair with the first spring flowers. This symbolizes love, marriage and women’s fertility. Ritual breads are kneaded, called „dolls”, and a wreath of willow twigs is woven, which is dropped in running water, so that people be protected from the Dragon. The lass whose wreath is faster than the others’ ones, is going to get married first this year. All the lasses led by a woman who has already participated in the ritual go together to people’s houses and sing Lazarus Saturday songs. The landlady of the house used to roll down a sieve between the Lazarki (the girls participating in the ritual) and used to foretell about the fertility in accordance with the way it fell on the ground. They go from each home with baskets full of gifts. olorful Acce