BG_5 | Ritual Bread for Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve is the night before Christ was born. The whole family gathers at the table, which contains an odd number of dishes – 7, 9, 11. The hostess prepares dolmas (cabbage leaves) stuffed with rice, stuffed dried red peppers, boiled beans, boiled wheat, pumpkin pie, boiled dried fruit, boiled brandy and red wine.
The most valuable food on the table is the ritual bread. The images on the bread depend on the main activity of the host and his expectations for the future. They can be directly related to agriculture (wheat, corn, fields), animal husbandry (cow, pig, birds), household (house, barn, dog), trade (barrel) and others. A coin must be put in the bread in order to have health, luck and prosperity in the family next year. The one who gets the coin will be the luckiest and wealthiest of all.
The oldest man goes out to fetch the ritual log for the fire. This is a thick log from an oak or a pear tree, which burns slowly and keeps the fire burning the whole night long.
The host breaks the ritual bread and gives a piece to each member of the family, leaving one piece for the animals and one for the land. Then everyone eats the delicious dishes of the hostess. This is how the whole family celebrates Christmas around the table.
(Image: © Maryia Stoeva)