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On Cheesefare Sunday we ask for forgiveness

Photo: BGNES

"When there is a fault, there is forgiveness" is an old Bulgarian saying. In our folk customs there are days when giving forgiveness for all wrongdoings is obligatory. The most important among them is today's Forgiveness Day, also called Sirnitsa or Sirni Zagovezni (Cheesefare Sunday).

On the last Sunday before the beginning of Lent, younger people should ask for and receive forgiveness from their parents, godparents, best men, i.e. people from whom they receive help and support throughout the year. In the evening, before the family sits around the table, the ritual of forgiveness is performed again. "God forgive!" You are forgiven!" Once the spirit of reconciliation has reigned, the festive dinner follows.

Tradition dictates to eat eggs, cheese, butter, and other dairy products all day long on Easter Sunday because they are all excluded from the menu the very next day when Easter fasting begins.


After dinner follows the most fun ritual for children - "hamkane". A red woolen thread is tied over the table at the end of which an egg, cheese or white halva is attached. The thread is then swung and everyone present tries to catch the things tied to it with their mouths only. The belief is that whoever manages to catch the treat first will enjoy good health and good luck throughout the year.

Compilation: Vesela Krusteva

English: Elizabeth Radkova

Photos: BGNES
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