Podcast in English
Text size
Bulgarian National Radio © 2023 All Rights Reserved

Festive bread, daily bread…

On Christmas Eve lean dishes and ritual bread with a coin are served and on Christmas - meat dishes predominate. Even in the times of food deliveries and fast food, preparation for the holiday table remain an integral part of the festive spirit. There are many Bulgarian families, who jealously guard the local traditions and customs and who prepare their own special dishes and ritual bread.

Bread, whether for a holiday or weekday, has always had honorable place in the life of the Bulgarians. It is at the center of almost all traditional holidays.

Ritual bread is made using the best and whitest flour. Once upon a time, during the harvest, the women separated the largest grains, dried them and put them in a cloth bag to keep them for these intimate moments. The water used for kneading the ritual bread is also special - it is  called "silent", as it is brought in complete silence from the well. No one drinks from it and it is left untouched and warmed by the fire. Women who knead the bread dress in clean festive clothes. The flour is sifted three times, special songs are sung, but the most important thing is observing purity in thoughts and actions. The bread is lean, which means that no animal derived products are used.

Several loaves of bread are prepared for Christmas Eve and they have different roles in the folk traditions. The most important is the so-called God’s bread (bogovitsa). Ritual bread is considered bloodless sacrifice, dedicated to God and the house. The decoration usually includes a cross in the middle, placed with a prosphora seal.


Loaves of bread dedicated to agriculture are also prepared for the holiday. They are covered with decorations depicting shepherds and flocks, oxen and plowmen, etc. In some places bread was made in the shape of a cask for those who take care of vineyards. Of course, in almost every part of Bulgaria there are many different shapes of ritual bread depending on the ritual significance.

On Christmas it is already allowed to knead ritual bread using butter, milk, etc.

To this day, carolers who visit homes on Christmas Eve receive bread in the shape of a circle. Through these dough circles, decorated with popcorn, young unmarried women used to show not only their skills, but also their feelings.


English: Alexander Markov

Photos: archive
Listen to the daily news from Bulgaria presented in "Bulgaria Today" podcast, available in Spotify.

More from category

A memory of one of the famous donors of Plovdiv

This year marks the 160 th anniversary of the birth of one of the most famous donors and benefactors of the city of Plovdiv - industrialist Dimitar Petrov Kudoglu. Born in 1862 in the region of Xanthi in northeastern Greece, he inherited the..

published on 5/29/22 9:45 AM

On May 11, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church pays homage to the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius

The holy brothers Cyril and Methodius were canonized as saints by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for the translation into Church-Slavonic and popularization of the liturgical Old Slavonic books, and for the spread of Christianity among the..

published on 5/11/22 10:15 AM

April 16 is Constitution Day in Bulgaria

On April 16, 2022 Bulgaria marks the 143 rd anniversary since the adoption of the first Constitution – the Tarnovo Constitution. The document endorsed the democratic values of the Bulgarian people and laid the foundations of Bulgaria’s..

published on 4/16/22 8:00 AM