On the day of 14th of February in Bulgaria, we celebrate not only Valentine’s Day but also a very old and characteristic of the Bulgarian culture holiday called Trifon Zarezan. It is a day that dates the start of the new winegrowing season, which is symbolized by a ritual of pruning the vine fields for the first time of the year. The day is dedicated to the wine, the winegrowers, the winemakers, and their patron St. Trifon. It is celebrated in every part of Bulgaria, every city, town or even the smallest of villages. The celebrations start early in the morning in the vineyards, where everyone gathers and a priest blesses the vines with prayers for fertility. Traditionally each man has to bring homemade bread, roasted chicken stuffed with rice and a bottle of wine. When the ritual of the first pruning is done, the wine is sprinkled over the vine plants. Usually there are also celebrations happening in the town square, where many people gather to watch Bulgarian folk dances, listen to Bulgarian folk songs and drink wine of course. The activities continue at home, people invite guests to their houses and have fun drinking wine until late at night. This year we visited the small village of Osmar where for the first time there were official celebrations in front of the famous Osmar “Pelin” winery, which included songs, dances and tables with red and white wine, Bulgarian traditional “Pogacha” bread and roasted chicken, as well as snacks to go with the wine. The village, located near the town of Veliki Preslav. The village has a very small population of roughly 300 people, but they strongly keep the receipt and produce the unique “Pelin” wine, made nowhere else in the world.
With finansial support of program European Solidarity corps