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?