Photo: Maria Stoyanova

New Year’s Eve in Bulgaria

What we eat and what we do?

Maria S.
Maria S.
Dec 3, 2013 · 3 min read

The New Year is just around the corner and we are all starting to prepare for the Big Night. In case you were wondering how we spend New Year’s Eve in Bulgaria, or even better — you will be here, this article is just for you!

One of the most important traditions in welcoming the New Year is the preparation of the holiday dinner. The table should be full with delicious food. The most common dishes in Bulgaria for New Year’s dinner are pork with cabbage, steaks, roast turkey or rooster, rice, other vegetables and fruits. Onion, garlic, corn, dried fruits, wallnuts, pickles and wheat are a must!

Bulgarian Banitza, Photo: Wikimedia Commons

One of the symbols of New Year in Bulgaria is the so called “Banitza” with fortunes. This is a traditional Bulgarian food prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs and pieces of cheese between filo pastry (a paper-thin sheets of dough) and then baking it in an oven. In the “Banitza” we put a lot of fortunes (or lucky charms; only on New Year). We usually put pieces of paper with written wishes and a coin. Some people put a piece of dogwood branch with a bud which symbolize health. Part of the tradition is putting the dogwood pieces in the burning fire. If they pop this means health and wealth.

Everyone in the house take a piece of the “Banitza” and the lucky charm in it determines the upcoming year. There should be enough pieces of the meal for everyone in the house + 1 additional piece. It is called St. Mary.

Survachka — richly-decorated wooden stick for survakane in Bulgaria Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Another really important part of welcoming the New Year is this really old tradition “survakane”. This is one of the most famous rituals in Bulgaria. It starts in the early morning of January 1st. Group of children gather together and go from house to house (to relatives and friends) and use the “survachka” (richly decorated wooden stick, on the left picture) to lightly beat relatives and friends on the back while saying a special poem with wishes for health and wealth. In return the owner of the house gives them some money and treats.The “survachka” is made from wood, usually a cornel-tree. Children decorate their survachki with popcorn, colorful treats and sometimes coins.

So this is how we do it in Bulgaria! What are your national New Year’s traditions?


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    Maria S.

    Written by

    Maria S.

    22.Bulgarian. @mistoyanova