Bulgarian National Radio © 2021 All Rights Reserved

The sieve - part of the solar cult in Bulgarian folklore traditions

Golden sieve, silk sieve…

Photo: library

The sun, deified since ancient times, gives life to all living things and is responsible for nature’s rebirth. Under its miraculous rays crops and fruit ripen, newborn animals grow up, and people show gratitude and hope to enjoy its gracious power again and again. The light of the sun also symbolizes goodness, knowledge, spirituality. Its round shape, as a symbol of the divine, can be seen in the way our ancestors built their settlements, in the path of ritual tours (of carolers, for example), in the shape of bread…


On weekdays and holidays, our daily bread is not only part of the table, the customs, the life of Bulgarians. According to traditional beliefs, bread sanctifies everything it touches including the objects used in its preparation and serving. One of these sacred objects, which is sung about in a number of folk songs, is the sieve. In Bulgarian language, the word sieve (sito) itself is associated with the words satiety and fullness, and hence - with wealth and prosperity. The sieve is part of many Bulgarian customs and ritual practices. It is used for divination, magic, but also for breaking spells. It is also believed to be a symbol of the feminine principle. The article "Give away with the sieve for a full year - the sieve in songs, rituals and magical practices" from the collection of Radio Bulgaria tells about this seemingly ordinary assistant of the housewife during the patriarchal way of life.

Editor: Albena Bezovska


More from category

St. Athanasius – the founder of monasticism in Europe

On January 18, the day after St. Anthony's Day (Antonovden), the Bulgarian Orthodox Church honours the memory of St. Athanasius the Great (Atanssovden). A zealous follower of Christ's teaching, St. Athanasius took an active part in the large..

published on 1/18/21 8:25 AM

Day of St. Anthony (Antonovden) beliefs and rituals

St. Anthony was born in Egypt around 251 AD and died at the age of 105 on 17 January, celebrated as his patron saint’s day. St. Anthony is considered to be the first monk to have lived a life in complete solitude, far from any earthly..

published on 1/17/21 5:15 AM

Rhodopean routes – exploring the village of Smilyan

If you ask any Bulgarian what is the typical Bulgarian dish, the most common answer would be: “beans”. Beans are integral part of the Bulgarian table and used in various tasty soups, herb-scented stews and healthy salads. Smilyan beans is the..

published on 1/16/21 5:05 AM