Christmas Eve is one of the most important family holidays in Bulgarian calendar. Its celebrating includes many rituals, both Christian and pagan, with which to bring luck and a fruitful year for the family.

According to Bulgarian tradition the family should gather for the holiday and each member has a role. Men choose and cut down the Yule log – a large oak or pear log symbolizing the world tree (keeper of order and harmony in the world). The eldest of the men sets it on fire and it's left to burn all night. That fire is believed to have purifying and protective power. Part of the ash is spread on the fields to bring fertility, and other is kept for protection against evil powers.
While men take care for protection of the home, women, associated with fertility, prepare the festive dinner. The most important is to knead the ritual breads, which has to be done early in the morning. It is then when the youngest girls carry "silent" water, which means that they carry it in silence. That water is used from the hostess to knead a round pita in which she puts a silver coin and cornel buds and decorates with fruits, wheat and dough crosses for prosperity. The only females who do not take part in that kneading ritual are the maidens of marriageable age, because it is believed that when they leave home they'll take the fertility with them.

The dinner on Christmas Eve is more like ritual than a meal. The whole family gathers around the repast, usually set on the ground, on straw – recreating the setting of Christ's birth. The host breaks the pita and sets aside the first chunk for the dead (or Virgin Mary), the second – for the house, and gives the rest to the family members. The Christmas Eve dinner is long and no one is supposed to get up. However, if they must, they have to walk bend as if they are a tree laden with fruit. Everyone must leave the table together for a fruitful year and prepare to welcome the carolers, called koledari. The meals are left on the table over night because it is believed that on this night the sky opens and the dead relatives are coming for dinner. According to peoples' beliefs on Christmas Eve the future can be seen, this is why on this night different predictions are made – for weather, fertility and fate. For example, if the log burns in a big fire and sparks, the year will be fruitful; everyone takes a walnut and breaks it – if the nut is good, they will be healthy; maidens can dream their future grooms if they put the first bite of the pita under their pillow.

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