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Christmas Eve in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, Christmas Eve is the last day of the Christmas fast and even though most people don’t fast, all the dishes at the dinner are vegetarian.

We put an odd number of dishes, usually, 7, 9 or 11, and every food has a different symbolism. Some of the traditional dishes are peppers or cabbage; wine leafs stuffed with rice; beans or lentils; baked pumpkin; fruits and vegetables. Dried fruits, walnuts, garlic, honey and wine are mandatory, too.

We also put a coin and other charms in the bread to tell our fortune for the next year.

Many places in the country have different rituals of divination using walnuts or cornel buds or by the weather during the day.

Another custom that hasn’t been practised that much lately is “Koleduvane”. That’s when boys and men in folk costumes go from house to house singing and wishing health and fertility, and receiving gifts.

How do you celebrate Christmas Eve in your country?

Photo: Pixabay

See also

Decorate Your Christmas Table… With Jars!

6 No-Bake Christmas Desserts

2 Christmas Tree Cookie Recipes

Bulgarian Yogurt

Interesting Facts About Bulgarian Roses


What do you think?

17 Points

Written by ellie925


  1. Thank you for posting an interesting post and I was able to get to know part of your tradition … Here is a traditional Christmas dinner of cabbage and roasted meat or sausage … it is midnight that the family goes to the Holy Mass – midnight

    • Haha, we are all aware of the coin here, so the chance is small. Actually, since getting the coin is considered the biggest luck, everybody is looking for it. 🙂

  2. Very interesting habits – thanks Ellie, that you shared them with us – do not celebrate in Bulgaria on Christmas Day of January 7th?

  3. Thanks for sharing part of your world with us.
    We have a few traditions in the US on Christmas Eve.
    Some families open their gifts, instead of waiting for
    Christmas morning. Others wait until the morning.
    Some get together for a big dinner, others wait for
    Christmas day.

  4. It sounds like fun. I don’t have any traditions. I just maybe take a stroll at the local mall, window-shopping and checking out decorations, after maybe going to a morning movie.

  5. Interesting to read of Bulgaria’s Christmas Eve traditions. The coin in the bread reminds me of a fun New Year’s tradition here when a dime is added to a cooked cabbage dish. Many things work together in the USA to make Christmas Eve celebrations quite varied but most would say that it is a time for family and friends to get together no matter what the focus of the event is for the evening.