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What is survachka and what do foreigners know about this traditional Bulgarian object?

Photo: BGNES

The multilingual audience of Radio Bulgaria is very well informed about the traditions and culture of this country. This is partly due to the detailed and accessible information that we present to you daily in 10 languages through articles, podcasts and photos from Bulgaria. This is proved by the results of our latest poll, which was welcomed with great interest by the audience.

The question was: "What is survachka?" We are pleased to find out that 80% of our online users have indicated the correct answer, namely that it is a traditional implement for New Year well-wishing. Only the visitors of the Serbian and Albanian pages were confused, as some of them said that survachka is a kind of magic wand, or that it is part of Bulgarian folklore decorations for Christmas.

What is survachka?

“Survakane” is one of the most beloved and colorful Bulgarian New Year's customs. It is performed with a twig or stick, decorated with twisted multicolored threads, with popcorn, yarn, all kinds of dried fruits and coins. To this day, on the first day of the New Year, children pat adults on their backs using the survachka, while uttering special well-wishings:

“Surva, a Happy New Year,

a golden wheat-ear in the field,

a red apple in the garden,

large grapes on the vine,

a purse full of coins...

Good life and health during the whole year and beyond!”

Traditionally, on the first day of the New Year, the participants in the ritual called “survakari” go around the village and visit neighbors and relatives, while the hosts give them candy or some money.

You will learn more about this colorful Bulgarian tradition full of deep symbolism from the articles of Radio Bulgaria:

„Surva, Happy New Year...” and “Survachka - the magic wand of Bulgarians”


English: Alexander Markov

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