The Bulgarian system of celebrations and rituals bears the
mark of diverse historical strata. It contains elements of
totems, animism, pantheism and monism, including
dances and rites, which have been gathered over millenia.
Many of the traditional celebrations are widely honored, partially
being preserved in different villages and regions, but some are retained
only as tourist attractions.
The annual cycle begins with the Christmas celebrations. Christmas (Koleda, Bozhik) is one of the greatest annual celebrations, known throughout the entire Bulgarian ethnic territory. The celebration is a type of continuation of Christmas Eve as it begins at midnight with the custom of caroling. Only young men take part led by an older man. From midnight to morning they travel to different homes in groups of 10-15 people. Along the way, at doors and in homes, they sing special, ritualistic songs and speak blessings of happiness and a rich harvest on the family. The hosts give out ritualistic ring-shaped bread, money, meat, beans, flour, wine, dried fruit (oshav), walnuts, etc.