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Orthodox Easter 2024 in Bulgaria

Orthodox Easter or "Velikden" is one of the largest and most important holidays in Bulgaria

Dates: May 3–6, 2024

Orthodox Easter
Orthodox Easter
Orthodox Easter
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Velikden (Easter) is the main holiday for all Orthodox Christians. In Bulgaria, this day is celebrated with a twist. It is an official day off, as well as the Monday following it. The holiday is connected with the first full moon after the spring solstice day, and therefore every year Velikden (Easter) falls on a different date. The holiday, however, lasts more than two days: it begins on a Friday and lasts until Monday. So, let's see how Easter is celebrated in this beautiful country!

Easter egg painting tradition

Easter is observed with ingrained traditions and practices, inherited over generations. Preparations begin on Thursday, and then it is customary to paint eggs (or "krashti qica"). Many techniques, such as dyeing, wax-resist, and elaborate drawings, are used to adorn these eggs. The patterns and colors have symbolic implications; red stands for both new life and the blood of Christ, while other colours symbolise other elements of the Easter narrative. Painting eggs together is a common family hobby that becomes a fun family activity.

Church services & other traditions

Bulgarians go to church on Easter Sunday; the most important ceremony is the midnight service called "Paskha." For many Bulgarians, this service—which commemorates the resurrection of Christ—is a truly spiritual event. Following the sombre service, you'll see a joyful exchange of the customary Easter greeting, "Hristos voskrese" (Christ is risen), to which one responds with "Voistina voskrese" (Truly, He is risen). Families gather for a joyful feast that includes a variety of traditional meals like roasted lamb, "kozunak" (sweet bread), and, of course, the exquisitely painted Easter eggs. Throughout the day, friends and family continue to celebrate with music, dancing, and the exchange of happiness and kindness.

Best places to visit

Bulgaria can boast a bunch of cities, where you can spend Easter with a twist of cultural experiences and customs. In addition to attending Easter church services and exploring cultural events in Sophia, the capital, you can join festivities in other (and, sometimes, smaller cities). A great example is Plovdiv – with its varied heritage and long history, the city provides a special Easter experience that includes church services and regional folk customs.

Then, amidst its historic buildings and gorgeous scenery, Veliko Tarnovo, the ancient capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, offers a charming backdrop for fun Easter celebrations. If you're looking for a more tranquil setting, head to the Pirin Mountains' Bansko – here, the focus is on regional traditions and delectable cuisine. A resort town of Varna also offers a rejuvenating vacation experience by fusing coastal leisure with Easter customs. So, yes, there is a holiday location for every taste. Just choose what suits you best and book your housing in advance!

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