The Bulgarian Holiday Of St Andrew’s Day

St. Andrew the Apostle and his brother Peter were simple fishermen. Very young, they joined the community of John the Baptist. By the end of its life-time Apostle Andrew preached the doctrine of Christ among the Balkan peoples, especially among the Scythians. He died in pain and suffering on a cross-shaped “X” in the Greek city of Patras.

Bulgarians, as my friends from an Austin Certified Translation Agency evidence,  call the holiday “Growing Day”, or “Mechkin day.” (“Bear’s Day”)  According to popular views and knowledge of astronomy this is the day from which the day begins to grow. The Bulgarian saying is that “On the day of St Andrew the day begins to grow with as much as a grain (wheat, poppy or mustard) is.” This view explains the ritual acts which aim to ensure fertility and abundance in the coming business year. On the eve of the feast or early in the morning each housewife prepares a dish of corn, wheat, beans, lentils, barley, oats, etc. This is done to wish the grains of crops grew as well as a grain becomes bigger when cooked.  All people in the house eat from this dish. It is also given to domestic animals so that they give birth to good offspring. Women give some of the dish around the neighborhood for a fertile year.

In the Bulgarian lands north of the Balkan mountain St. Andrew is honored as a celebration of bears, known as “Mechkin day.” (“Bear’s Day”). According to a popular legend, St. Andrew was once a lonely hermit in the mountains. He had a small piece of land where he grew his food. But a bear ate his ox. The furious farmer managed to capture the beast, hitched it to plow instead of oxen, and so he obeyed his will. Since then he rode the bear and cultivated the land with its aid. That is why the saint is celebrated as the patron of the bears, as their lord. According to a Dutch Translator, worker at the mentioned San Francisco Translation Services Agency,  who has studied this ritual, it is: before sunrise on St. Andrew’s the oldest woman in the family takes a handful of boiled beans and a slice of bread and throws them up in the chimney or on the roof of the spell: “To you, Bear, to eat corn, not to eat it raw and not to eat people and their crops! “

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