St. Todor’s Day
The Saturday of the first week of the Long Lent – this year, March 7th – marked the day of St. Todor. In icons, the saint is represented as a rider of a white horse. In the national calendar, the day is also known as “Todorova sabota” (The Saturday of Todor), “Konski Velikden” (The Horses’ Easter), “Tudoritsa” (Todor’s) and others. The day is completely devoted to the health of horses.
The most interesting custom involves horse racing – the “kushia”, in which the entire village participates. Men dress in new shirts, wash their horses and decorate them for the race. The winners are given gifts – the horse gets a new rein, and the rider – a shirt or a piece of cloth. The winner of the race goes through all the homes of the village on his horse to congratulate the villagers for the holiday.
The tradition is kept to this day all across the country. In Burgas, the day was noted with horse races on the beach and a procession on the coastal alley of the Sea garden. In Sofia, 2500 people of different parts of the city gathered in the “Benkovski” district for the blessing, the arrival of the cavalry and the procession. The races took place on the stadium of the “Benkovski” district.