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Commemorating All Souls’ Day

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On the 5th of November, Bulgarians honored the male St. Archangel’s “All Souls’ Day” (Архангелова мъжка задушница). The day is commemorated the Saturday before St. Archangel’s Day, thus the name.
The religious festival is one of the three Major All Souls’ Days (Големи Задушници), which orthodox Christians mark annually. On this day, Bulgarians pay their respects to the dead and vow eternal gratitude to the officers and soldiers who fell for Bulgaria.

St. Archangel’s All Souls’ Day is based on the belief of the immortality of the human soul and the reincarnation of the dead. According to the words of the Savior, the deceased have not died in the actual sense of the word, but rather, through death they walk the path to eternal life. In accordance with this belief, we show our respect and recognition to those who are eternally alive through God, during the ceremony and the other All Souls’ Days (задушници) throughout the year.
It is customary that the grave of deceased be cleared of weeds; that flowers are planted; and that friends and relatives assemble to commemorate the deceased and demonstrate that he is not forgotten. This is the connection between the earthly and heavenly Church.
During All Souls’ Day, as well as any other commemorative occasion, people mark the occasion with small gifts (раздавки) – sweets, bonbons, fruits, wine, etc. The food is distributed not only to the relatives and friends of the deceased, but to all people at the cemetery, even if they are strangers.
Wine or rakia (a Bulgarian plum brandy) is often poured on the ground, so that the dead may “drink.” Food is left at the gravesite in a similar fashion.
Lately, a disturbing phenomenon can be observed in Bulgarian society: Halloween. With the rising popularity of costumes and trick-and-treaters, Halloween has become increasingly popular among Bulgaria’s youth, though its influence is still minimal.
The author has relied substantially on an article from actualno.bg
Bulgaria Commemorates Warriors Killed in Battlers on All Souls’ Day
Day of Bulgarian Revival Leaders (News.bg)

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