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Saint George's Day / Army Day
Bulgaria

Saint George's Day / Army Day 2018 and 2019

Saint George’s Day in Bulgaria is a national holiday always held on 6 May.

YearDateDayHoliday
20186 MaySunSaint George's Day / Army Day
7 MayMonSaint George's Day Holiday
20196 MayMonSaint George's Day / Army Day

For almost half a century, the communist government banned the holiday after it came to power in 1946. The holiday was reinstated in 1993 and is again a proud day for Bulgaria. Saint George is third century soldier famous for having slain a dragon and for his martyrdom. He is one of the most honoured saints for Christians. Bulgarians are mostly of the Orthodox faith and have great reverence for Saint George.

The public holiday is also known as Gergyovden, Army Day and Bravery Day. Saint George is the patron saint of shepherds and farmers and, on this day, families sacrifice a lamb, preferably a first-born male, to be roasted on a spit for the big celebration. Bread is the other significant food and it is cooked in homes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, for example: cross bread, shepherd’s bread and small buns. On the evening before Saint George’s Day, young people often follow old customs of going out into the fields to dance, roll or wash in the overnight dew, and collect branches to decorated the doors of their homes.

On Saint George’s Day, the military holds a parade in Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia. Thousands turn out to watch the marching, to participate in the religious observances and to see the demonstration of military vehicles including tanks and torpedo launchers. A short period of silence is observed to remember those who fought and died for Bulgaria. The Bulgarian flag of white, green and red is flown everywhere and speeches are made by the president and other officials.

After the parade it is time for families and food. Bulgarians are very good at celebrating, which makes Saint George’s Day a very satisfying holiday for all.