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Enyovden (Midsummer), a celebration of the sun and sound health

БНР Новини
Photo: BGNES

In traditional beliefs, 24 June is the most mystical day of the year. On this day nature acquires wonder-working powers, the healing properties of herbs peak and life-giving water gushes forth in springs.

This special day is associated with the sun and its brightness as the summer begins. Bulgarian folk songs and legends hymn the pagan hero Enyo who on this day throws his coat on his shoulders and goes out to order snow for the winter.

St. John's wort

In traditional beliefs the Enyovden sun has come to the end of its journey towards summer and should now go back to the winter. Once the sun has had a decent rest in heaven, it descends to the earth, bathes in spring water and at daybreak, clean and rejuvenated, turns back and heads to the winter, the story in folklore goes. 

On the eve of the feast a special ritual was performed in which young girls dropped bunches of flowers and rings in a jug with “silent water”. In the morning a girl dressed up as Enyo’s Bride and with eyes tied, took out posies and rings predicting the future husbands of the girls.

The water was called “silent” because it would be guarded during the night by a fortune-teller. In popular belief, on the eve of Enyovden, sorcerers become very active and the spells made by them at this magic time are impossible to break. More importantly, wonder-working herbs should be kept away from bad people because otherwise, they could harm the community.

Today however, we hardly relate herbs to white or black magic. On Enyovden modern communities mark the day of herbalists and healers.

СнимкаSince time immemorial herbs have had a role in the healing practices in this country. Our ancestors picked herbs directly from nature, while today we often buy them from pharmacies.

Treatment with herbal extracts however is not a joke, says Tsvetanka Angelova who runs a herbal pharmacy in Sofia:

„Sometime ago there was big demand for restharrow, customers bought large quantities of it. When I tried to find out what had prompted this demand, a few curious answers came. Customers had heard about rest harrow from TV shows and had read about it online. The truth is that restharrow can have side effects especially in dehydrated patients. I have 50 years of experience preparing herbal mixtures. When the prescription has been made by a serious healer, I can tell the condition it is aimed to relieve judging from the ingredients. Very often however, people trust various rumors or inexpert advice. There are many specialized books Digitalisand they are reliable. There is not a single herb for all ailments but the most popular ones are chamomile, lemon balm, mint and sumach. We have 26 herbal mixtures based on prescriptions that have been prepared by doctors and are ready made. When people ask us for a remedy for a certain condition we give them something tested and proven. Like with medications, with herbs the dose is decisive. Strong herbs should be administered under medical guidance. There are herbs that we do not sell without a prescription, because they might severely harm the health if administered incorrectly. My advice to people is to use herbs and products picked in the Bulgarian land, because it is no secret that the best effect comes from herbs picked in the homeland of the patient.”

Elissaveta Georgieva uses herb for disease prevention. She believes that spring is the best season to do so:

„During the spring I take herbs that are richin iron. I keep liquid extracts of several herbs, such as nettle and lemon balm. Iron deficiency can cause fatigue. Herbs are very effective, they support our system in the best way while synthetic drugs burden the liver and have a range of side effects,” Elissaveta concludes.

English Daniela Konstantinova

Photos: BTA
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