Traditional Bulgarian customs: Jordanovden

Sixth of January – Jordanovden is the third most important Orthodox Christian feast in the year. In Bulgaria it is very well know with the jumping for the cross: a priest throws a cross into the cold waters of a river or a lake, and some people jump to catch and remove it.
The feast has different names around the country: Krustovden, Vodici, Vodokrashti, etc. The people’s legend says that in the night before the sky is opening and everyone who see it can wish something as a gift from God. The believe says also that the water is purifying at this time and is receiving a big strength. All people participate in the consecration of the water, when after a liturgy the priest throws the cross into the waters.

Despite the low temperatures and the cold water young men jump to catch the cross, and this who catch it first is blessed for the whole year. If the thrown cross gets iced, this is a sign for health and success. If the weather is dry and cold the year will be rich and happy.


On this date the battle flags of the army are consecrated too. The first consecration of the battle flags is made in the year of 917 AD before the battle at Aheloy. The ritual has been performed from 1879 to 1946 and recovered in 1993.

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