Bulgarians and gypsies celebrate the Dormition equally
Thousands of Christians all over the world – both Orthodox and Catholic – gather in the churches in the middle of the summer, August 15th.
August 15th, or 13 days earlier according to the old calendar, is one of the biggest Christian holidays – the Dormition. Or as Bulgarians call it, “Goliama Bogoroditsa”.
The Dormition is one of the biggest holidays for the gypsy Christians as well, along with Vasiliovden (Bango Vasili), Gergiovden (Erdelez), Velikden (Patragi). Gypsies call this day “Bari Bogoroditsa”, which means “the great Mary” in their language. Usually they celebrate the Dormition according to the old calendar – on August 28th, as do many Bulgarians.
According to the gypsy tradition, their entire families along with the children go to churches named after the mother of Jesus. They not only pray before the icons of Saint Mary, but also perform traditional dances in her honor. Often they pray for health and the healing of sick children.
Many gypsy families maintain the tradition to prepare special meals for this holiday. Naturally, lamb meat is the most popular choice. It isn’t roasted however; the tradition dictates that the meat is boiled. Ancient beliefs hold that roasted food is not a good choice on this holiday.