Friday, 6 January 2012

The Bulgarian Name Day

Saturday 7th January is my nameday, I share this day with Yovo, English equivalent John, & also my mum Joan. So if your name is John, Joan, Joanna, Joanne, Jonathan etc, you now know your day! My Bulgarian name is Yoana, Ioana or Ivanka. All the names sharing this day are; Ioan, Ioana, Yoan, Yoana, Ivan, Ivanka, Ivayla, Ivaylo, Ivet, Kaloian, Kaloyan, Vanya, Vanyo, Zhan, Zhana.
This is also the birthday of two of my friends & my daughter in law. I am a bit remiss, yet again, as I have dipped out again, I keep forgetting, but next year I will try to remember to organise something ahead of time. This year though I will have to settle for inviting Yovo around with his family & do the cooking, I will bake us a cake & break out the homemade cherry brandy, see what he thinks!
Anton, Me, Yovo, Pavlinka & Nigel
The Nameday
As well as a birthday Bulgarians also celebrate a nameday. They reason you are named at birth and that stays with you all your life. If you celebrate the day you were born, why not celebrate your name too?
The Bulgarian nameday recognises the meaning of your name. The name will come from the  name of a saint, from a long tradition, or from historical events. The nameday is either the birthday of the saint, or the time of the year connected to the meaning, or the name of the holiday the person is born on. It can be quite difficult to understand! My name means God is gracious, it appeared in the bible Luke 8:3 She was a disciple of Jesus & a friend of Mary Magdalene. I love that my name was one of a tiny number of women disciples that Jesus would have seen as special to him! There is also a type of butterfly called Joanna & off course the Joanna is slang for the piano, all good as far as I am concerned as I am from London so the slang is relevant, I love butterflies & find them a very feminine thing, again relevant & I love God, so I love the meaning & it makes my name, mine & special to me
In Bulgaria the name is thought the most important characteristic of a person. We have a saying "Clothes maketh the man", the Bulgarians say "ΠΆhe name makes the man".  
In the past people didn’t know the exact date of their birth, so they used the Orthodox calendar and the holidays on it. They would say they were born on Holy Virgin’s Day or St. Demetrius’ Day, before grape-picking  or around threshing time. According to legend each person has a guardian, a spirit guiding them in life, protecting them from evil, helping him to do good actions. After death the spirit accompanies the soul to the other world and presents it before God. During their lifetime the guardian-spirit sits on the right shoulder of the person. On the left side sits the devil’s messenger encouraging them to do evil things. If the guardian-spirit is weak, the person becomes bad or very ill. If the spirit is strong  the person is kind, healthy & good. The older  Bulgarian believes that on their nameday they must honor their guardian, as it was they, that told their parents what name to give them.
In Bulgarian tradition on your friends nameday you can pull their ears or pour cold water on their head. Bulgarians still practice this tradition!
As I mentioned earlier its Sue's birthday tomorrow & as we have a bad weather warning for snow arriving today & tomorrow we celebrated last night. We have found a nice local restaurant which is about the same distance for both of us. Its probably better during the day, due to different chef's we think, and not as good as the restaurant in Borovo, but it's fine for in the winter months & for lunch on market day.
We had a great evening & shared the place with a large table of British ex pats. The time flew by & we were there over 4 hours, perhaps we are becoming Bulgarian ;-D

1 comment:

  1. Joanna , love this last comment"The time flew by & we were there over 4 hours, perhaps we are becoming Bulgarian ;-D" so Bulgarian to enjoy life, party a s much as u can

    Kristin Andreev


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