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Songs about the Mother of God, the infant Jesus and the tree of God

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According to Bulgarian folk customs, on Christmas Eve the fire burning in the fireplace of each home should not be put down. And the so-called “badnik”, a large log of chopped wood that is placed in the hearth, is cut down in the morning before the ritual Christmas eve dinner. The men should choose a healthy tree that bears many fruit, and when felling it they should be careful not to touch the ground. Then they solemnly take the chopped log home. In the yard, the one who carries it, asks: "Do you glorify the Young God", and the hosts answer: "We glorify Him! We celebrate Him! We welcome Him!” This exchange of festive addresses is followed by ritual songs that accompany the consecration of the wood – it is annointed with oil consecrated in the church, a hole is drilled in its thick end and oil, incense and wine is poured inside, then a wooden wedge is placed in the whole and the log is wrapped with pure linen or hemp cloth.

In the traditional folk songs performed in Bulgaria on this day, the image of the tree on whose branches the Young God will descend on earth is invariably present. Some of them also tell of the miraculous growth of the "Tree of God", which supports the blue sky with its top. Under the tree sits the "Mother of God Mary", who holds the young baby Jesus in her arms and utters the words: "Oh, you 12 priests - light 12 lamps, ring 12 bells, so we can baptize the young infant Jesus."

We find one such truly unique song in the repertoire of the famous Bulgarian female trio Biserovi Sisters.


The magical "Tree of God rising High" is also glorified in song in "The Prayer of the Mother of God" performed by the vocal group "Svetoglas". In it, the Mother of God swings the Infant in the cradle and utters incantations that he should grow up and "take His father’s earth and His grandfather’s heaven."


English version Rositsa Petkova

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