Merry Christmas: the Bansko Way

Dec 25, 2009 No Comments by

Merry Christmas or Vesela Koleda to all Bansko blog readers! All the best to you and your loved ones. And thank you for being with Banskoblog on this wonderful holiday!

Christmas Weather Report For Bansko

If you’re not in Bansko for Christmas, you may be curious to learn what the town is like these days and how people celebrate there.  This report comes from Nasko and Nikolai whi live in Plovdiv, currently having a family holiday in Bansko.

“The town is full of people.  Although it was very  warm (7 degrees C) yesterday, we are happy Bansko did not see the sunny heat that the rest of the country saw on 24th.  With all the sun in Sofia, there were streams of melting snow in the streets. On Bansko slopes however, conditions were pretty good for skiing even in the afternoon.  No queues and good snow skiing: but yet again grumbles from the insignificant discount for half-day cards and less than festive cheer fro Ulen staff.

However, things changed today. Although it was foggy, the snow was soft and it started raining in the afternoon. No wonder – the whole of Bulgaria saw record high temperatures today (imagine 21 degrees in Vratsa!)

For shopping, we visited the new shopping Mall — which has opened. We have just indulged in a family Christmas celebration.

How do Bulgarians spend their Christmas?

The Bulgarian Christmas Tradition: Past and Present

Christmas in Bulgaria follows the Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition. The eve of 24th December (called “Badni vecher” ) is the time when the whole family gathers round the table to celebrate the coming birth of Christ.  The 24th is the last day of the 40 days’ Lent.  So all the meals on the Christmas Eve table must be without meat or any animal products. People usually prepare vegetarian meals, such as beans, vine leaves, peppers stuffed with rice.  But the central place on the menu belongs to the traditional homemade round bread (pita) – each family make their own pita at home and put “lucks” in it, usually a coin. The family member who gets the hidden coin in his piece is the one who will be healthy and lucky and earn money throughout the coming year. Desserts include fruit stew, apple or pumpkin pie. The number of all meals on the table must be uneven – 7, 9 or 11. And the table shouldn’t be cleared up for the whole night.

If you stay till midnight, you can then put the end to the long fasting and eat meat. The 25th December is the Christmas day when people visit relatives and friends and exchange presents. The meals are then with lots of meat, of course, usually fresh roasted pork (or a whole pig) or stuffed chicken or turkey. Bulgarians also use a lot of sour kraut, which they ferment themselves. The Christmas menu also includes a banitsa.

It’s curious to know that during communism when religions were forbidden, it was the New Year that was considered the big holiday, and not Christmas. Even Santa was renamed to the non-religious equivalent of something like “Grandfather Frost”.

Nowadays, things have changed back to the old tradition. Christmas is for the family while the New Year’s Eve is the time to go out with friends.

If you are celebrating the New Year in Bansko, make sure you book a restaurant or mehana in advance. Many are already full — although set menus for holiday dinners are traditionally overpriced, a universal problem!”

Thank you Nasco and Nikolai for your report. I’m in the UK, it was a fine day — see you on the 29th!

Happy Christmas

Whatever you do and wherever you are:  Happy Christmas.

Looking back over the past year, I realise it’s the simplest things that have given me, and my closest friends, the greatest glow of happiness.

Here’s wishing you a very special Christmas and New Year full of simple pleasures.

Thank you for supporting us.

I appreciate it.



About the author

I enjoy tech, apps, entrepreneurship, podcasting and collaboration with others. I love travelling as well as skiing, hiking, MTB, paragliding, cooking and good food.
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