Petlyovden is a regional holiday celebrated in the eastern Bulgarian ethnic territory. The holiday is most common in villages with a population that belongs to the ethnographic group of vayatsi. The Vayatsi are an old local population from the villages of Kozichino (Erkech), Burgas and Golitsa, Solnik and Krivini, Varna region, and their settlements in Varna, Dobrich and Burgas region. It is associated with the sacrifice of a rooster, which is made by the women who are mothers of male children.

It was conceived as a holiday for the health and fertility of boys. Following the tradition and to this day the inhabitants of the above villages celebrate Petlyovden every year. The rituals of the holiday are preserved, but already in line with the new living conditions.

At the center of this traditional holiday is the ritual table of Petlyovden. In some cases, the holidays turn into real feasts, in which eating is not so much a meal as a sacrifice, a demonstration of prosperity, joy and generosity.

Below, on the basis of ethnographic observations of the holiday and interviews with residents of the village of Solnik, Varna region, on February 2, 2005 a description of the holiday was made.

The village of Solnik (old name Jafer) is located 50 km southwest of Varna at the foot of Stara Planina mountain. Its first settlers were from the old Bulgarian villages of Golitsa and Erkech (now the village of Kozichino). Golitsa is located 25 km west of Solnik, and Kozichino is in the Burgas region - 45 km north of Pomorie. The people of Golitsa and Erke, known as "vayatsi", still arouse the interest of researchers today. There are various hypotheses about their origin. They differ from other Balkan people in their speech, costume, and to some extent in their appearance. From time immemorial, one of the most revered holidays among this old local population is Petlyovden.

Traditionally, on Petlyovden, both the mothers of the boys and the midwife who assisted them in birth prepare the table in the midwife's house.

Every male mother cooks a rooster in her home. The rooster is boiled in salted water, less often cooked in a stew with bulgur. The mother also prepares fresh pie without yeast (pita in Bulgarian), steamed zelnik, mulled wine, sweetened and seasoned with black pepper. The food is placed in a new barrel, arranged in the following order: banitsa, pita, rooster, candle, incense, wool tow, a string of popcorn and peppers. The grandmother's home, which helped with the boy's birth, is also preparing for the holiday. It is obligatory to cook three dishes: rooster with bulgur, plum stew, kavarma beans.

At home, the midwife greets them, sitting by the hearth or at the home iconostasis. After fumigating with incense, the women give the midwife a piece of the pie with a lighted candle, the middle of zelnik, a leg of rooster, and then serve each other food and drink. While they are eating, and then they play the bagpiper, whom they invited in advance. He is the only male during the feast. The festive table is accompanied by wild merriment. In the evening, the men join in the celebration. Thus the holiday ends late at night.

Key message

It is conceived as a holiday for the health and fertility of boys. The main task and goal, as on most traditional holidays, is to preserve the folk tradition and beliefs of local ethnographic communities.

Key activities

The main activities related to the holiday are:

  • preparation for the holiday;
  • the knees of the cock-sacrifice;
  • preparation of ritual foods;
  • celebration

Experiential and interactive activities

The spectators watch the main activities related to the holiday, and the ritual food is distributed to the guests.

With proper advertising and wider public awareness of this traditional holiday, it is possible that the participation of tourists will be more mass, which will lead to more and more complete experiences.

Innovative elements

Due to the limitations of the last two years, more mass participation could be considered for live broadcasting of the holiday from the Stara Planina villages on some sites or pages on social networks.

Main features and services that attract public

The colorful rituals of the holiday, which is experienced by guests and audience. The traditional holidays and customs of the Bulgarians are interesting and attractive with their diversity - often each of them requires a specific food that is almost not used on other occasions - a fact that undoubtedly significantly enhances the anticipation and enjoyment of the holiday. 

Key partners and supporters

The holiday is organized by the local population and the community centers in the villages where it is celebrated, which are supported by the local government in Dolni Chiflik municipality.

Participants, local community and customer segment

Participants are mainly representatives of the local population and guests from other settlements.

Communication and dissemination channels

The Community center in village of Golitsa has its own page on social networks:

Specific elements and features

Managerial and organizational specifics

The governing body of the community center in Golitsa is the Board of Trustees, which consists of at least three members elected for a term of 3 years.


The settlements where the traditional holiday is held are located in areas far from main roads. The villages of Solnik and Golitsa can be traveled by public or private transport, with the use of personal vehicles being preferable.

Liaison with other activities and events of the Black Sea Basin Region

In Ukraine there is the village of Golitsa, which was founded by Bulgarians who moved to the Russian Empire in 1830 from the village of the same name Golitsa (Varna region, Bulgaria). Today, the inhabitants of the Ukrainian village of Golitsa are mostly Bulgarians who are proud of their traditions, way of life and folklore. To this day, the ties between the two villages have not been severed. Authentic folklore groups exchange visits.

Image Sources:


The holiday is known and preserved in several villages in the Eastern Stara Planina mountain - the village of Golitsa, the village of Solnik, the village of Krivini, municipality Dolni Chiflik, Varna region and Kozichino, Burgas region. 


Every year on February 2, all day.

Until the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in Bulgaria country in 1916, St. Evtim - Petlyovden has always been celebrated on January 20. In the period of the discrepancy between the civil and the church calendar, ie. from 1916 to 1968, the holiday is celebrated on February 2. After the introduction of the new style by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in 1969, it honors St. Euthymius again on January 20, while Petlyovden continues to be celebrated on the old date - February 2.

Organizer and contact information

Usually the event is organized by the chitalishte activists of the respective villages.
Community center (in Bulgarian Chitalishte) "Hristo Botev - 1928", 9114 Golitsa village, municipality Dolni Chiflik, Varna region, phone +359 899676249
Community center (Chitalishte) "Vasil Levski - 1939", village of Solnik, municipality Dolni Chiflik, Varna region
Community center (Chitalishte) "Svetlina - 1936 - Krivini", village of Krivini, municipality Dolni Chiflik, Varna region

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