It is believed, that on a certain day each year the sun comes down to a river, or a sea, and dances amongst the waves, baths,and after that it leaves the earthly and heads back towards winter. The date is 24th of June, and it is believed that on this day summer comes to an end and the road to winter reappears.
The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates on the 24th the birth of John the Baptist. In its heart the celebration is Slavic, with roots in all the Slavic nations and is distinguished by the Orthodox populace. On that day it is tradition for women to get up early and witness the sunrise, before the sun comes down to bath, afterwards they collect herbs and make a garland. Then after, women and children would pass through it so they may be healthy during the year.
In the eastern province of Bulgaria, maidens would carry out the “Eniova Bulia” tradition (roughly a bride of Enio /John/), by first gathering herbs and pouring “Silent Water” before sunrise. The name of the “Silent Water” comes from the deed being carried out in a silent reverence. After gathering the herbs, the maidens would dress up an orphan child in a bride’s dress and a red veil, and would carry her on their shoulders, singing special songs for the occasion. It is done for health and prosperity, so they go along the fields, the gardens, and through the village. They also play the horo, a traditional Bulgarian dance. The girls would end their round in a certain house, where the “laduvane” (the prophecy) will take place. Every maiden throws a medley or a ring in a cauldron, and then the “bride” will take out the items as a luck charm, whilemaidens sing a chanting song. The luck charm would foretell who will be the maiden’s husband. It is an exquisitely colorful event and a festivity, for it is the name day for many Slavic people.
Author Diko Boutchoukov
Photo by Assen Velikov