Free Sofia Tour's Blog

January 20, 2015

Name day: A Special Day for a Special Name

In this post we would like to introduce you to a widespread Bulgarian tradition: the name day. If you ever wondered what this is or why we have it – apart from the countless Bulgarian holidays, we also have days when we honor our names, so let’s hope that the following will shed some light on the subject. Celebrating name days is a wonderful folk custom, still very common and strongly associated with the life of Bulgarians. It gathers you with your family, gets you to make some new friends, takes you away from the daily grind, but, most of all, it shows respect and attention to a person bearing a special name. This is a tradition (the name day) revered since ancient times, but how old is it actually? Well let’s honor the custom of Free Sofia Tour and start with a small historic introduction. Name days have existed in our culture for a long time. With the introduction of Christianity in Bulgaria, people began to baptize their children using […]
April 6, 2012

They call it Palm Sunday, we call it Flower Day (Tsvetnitsa)

Tsvetnitsa – Flower Day or Palm Sunday Although Palm Sunday (Tsvetnitsa) is a common movable feast for all Christians commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, in Bulgaria it is mostly celebrated as a Name Day, much like Iordanovden (St. Jordan’s Day) or Ivanovden (St. George’s Day).  This year (2024) it falls on April 28th. Mark the date! For us Bulgarians, the Sunday before Easter is an important holiday. On this day, every person who carries the name of a flower, plant, tree, or any other known, and, arguably, unknown, form of vegetation, has a reason to celebrate. Not surprisingly, the name of the holiday for us is Tsvetnitsa, which means ‘Flower Day’. In my family, it has been a long-standing tradition to gather the whole extended family for a big lunch and exchange flowers since we have not one, not two, but five different family members adorned with flowery names: Lilyana x2 (from ‘lilac’ ), Dilyana (from ‘dilyanka,’ meaning a type of medicinal root), Tsvetelina x2 (from ‘tsvete’ meaning ‘flower’). Just like on […]