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The Church honors the memory of the Christian saint-warrior St. Theodore Tyrone

Todorovden combines pagan beliefs and Orthodox canon

The holiday is also called Horse Easter

Photo: library

Today, March 12, Bulgarians are celebrating Todorovden - a favorite church holiday, which is observed on the first Saturday of Lent.

Todorovden honors the memory of the Christian saint-warrior St. Theodore Tyrone, venerated as a great martyr by the Eastern Orthodox Church. On that day people with the names Todor, Theodore, Thea, Bozhidar, etc. celebrate their name day.

It is also called Todoritsa or Horse Easter, as the holiday is celebrated throughout the country with various rituals, but culminates in horse races or the so-called Kushya.

This holiday marks the border between winter and spring. It is said that after Todorovden, the day begins to grow and the weather gradually warms up. Tradition dictates that every horse owner should enter their horse in the horse races. The horses are decorated with wreaths of flowers for the kushia. And ritual breads for Todorovden are kneaded in the shape of a horseshoe or a horse and decorated with walnuts, corn and garlic.

You will learn more about the tradition and the songs associated with this unique Bulgarian holiday in this publication, which is part of Radio Bulgaria's collection of stories:

“Brave Todor shoeing his horse…”

Compiled by: Veneta Nikolova

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