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Important rituals and merriment are part of Babinden

Photo: BTA

Babinden is one of the biggest national holidays dedicated to women. It is an integral part of the triad of Voditsi, together with Epiphany and Ivanovden (Day of St. John the Baptist) - related to the health and purifying power of the water, on which ritual bathing is performed. But only the "grandmother" - the village midwife or elderly woman who helps women during labor bathes on Babinden.

The holiday has distant Proto-Slavic roots. Rituals related to the custom have been lost over the years, but the day is full of laughter and joy.

Like many folk holidays, Babinden is celebrated on two dates - January 8 according to the new style calendar and January 21 according to the old style.

Unlike Epiphany and St. John's Day, which are major holidays in both the church and the folk calendar, Babinden is entirely pagan. It is curious that when the Bulgarian Orthodox Church adopted the Gregorian calendar and the church holidays were shifted by 13 days, the same happened to Babinden. In some villages people started celebrating it on the new date, but in many places they kept the old one - January 21, which is celebrated today as Midwives’ Day in Bulgaria. Read more about the traditions of Babinden in an article from the rich collection of Radio Bulgaria.

Compiled by: Albena Bezovska


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