It’s an Anthonyday!
Again a group of holidays are ahead of us, Today is Antonovden, and tomorrow – January 18 – Atanasovden. The ethnographer Goran Stefanov from the Historical Museum in Malko Tarnovo will again tell us about them.
According to a legend, they were brothers, and the saints Anton and Atanas were blacksmiths, years ago, when the forging pliers were not invented, the brothers worked in their forge, the iron burned in the furnace, and then St. Athanasius reached and grabbed his bare hands. But then he looked at the dog barking with the front paws, and at the same time he was embraced by the idea of crafting the pliers like the dog’s legs, and in this connection Antoninovden, Atanasovden, perceived the Christianized but ancient twin myth.redstavi of heavenly blacksmith-gods. Not surprisingly, these particular saints “warm land” and “turn it into summer.” Therefore their days are celebrated as the feast of the guild of blacksmiths, cutlers and farriers.
It was also believed that the two saints also had power over illnesses. According to this Antonydod’s belief, all diseases come together, and Athanassen leaves among the people. And in order to appease the diseases and their saints, the peasants once prepared special ritual breads. They were forged with a fork so as not to pierce the faces of the children. In Strandja there was a dog, because the plague is most afraid of the dog and runs away from it. They crushed the honey and distributed it to neighbors and relatives. Following this custom, in some areas, the two feasts are sweetly and honey.
Atanasovden is an important feast for the Nestinar communities as well. This day, along with Evtimovden or Jeremiah (January 20th), is part of the winter fire-dancing ritual cycle. At Atanasovden the nestinars gathered in the Konak, sanctified water, burning burning coals and praying. The prepared meal consisted only of leafy meals. On this day, some of the fire-dancers intercepted and for the first time in the year played on the coals of fire, brought out in front of the henna in the Konak.
There is a belief that the celebrations of the two saintly brothers are a particularly appropriate moment for the ritual of “arrogance” or “twinning”. Some people are kissing him, usually three, who are not blood relatives. But with the ritual they become like brothers. They act as ritual salvation from disease and death, but also to help. In the past, many epidemics have destroyed entire families, so few people have survived the disaster, creating new types of generic structures to fight each other’s everyday difficulties. The twins and the slaves honor this relationship to life. Children of twin families can not fall in love and marry with each other, but they will always be supported and worshiped. The two saints are considered to be their patrons.
The twinning ritual is as follows: Men who want to be twin should be married. They step with one foot on unfused coals, placed on an ape – to be loving one another. They then drink wine – a symbol of the blood that binds them and breaks three ritual loaves to connect their native beasts. Their wives from that day onwards became sober. The new kinship was enshrined in three consecutive dances: the crunch – performed by the sitter, the pepper – played by the men of the three genera, and the silent or silent horo – with everyone involved. At noon, the kums go, the Kums carry the bread, banitsa, meat, wine and gifts.
Atanasovden was also wondering if the year would be fruitful. It is believed that if the snow is thick on this day, the next crop will be abundant, or as it says, “thick snow – a thick comat”!