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Easter at Tsarevets Fortress

865c0c0b4ab0e063e5caa3387c1a87417355b81225fd0a49aab800ff9229b110Citizens and guests of Veliko Tarnovo are presented with the unique opportunity to celebrate the most important festival in Eastern Orthodox Church – Easter, at Tsarevets Fortress.

In Bulgaria Easter eggs are dyed on Maundy (Holy) Thursday or Holy Saturday. The first red egg dyed is a symbol of health and good fortune for the family and is set aside to be kept until next Easter. The Bulgarian Easter bread is known as kozunak. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and at this day a table is set up in churches representing Christ’s coffin. People pass under it with the hope of having a year full of health and fertility. On Holy Saturday families and friends attend church together, carrying their coloured eggs and kozunatsi with them. Just before midnight a holy service takes place. After it the priest blesses the Easter breads and eggs brought by people. When the clock strikes midnight, they greet each other with the words Hristos vozkrese (Christ has risen). The response is Voistina vozkrese (He has risen indeed). Then everyone walk around the church three times with lit candles in hand in a solemn procession to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. If one has been a good Christian their candle will not go out no matter how strong the wind is, because they have no sins.  After the services are over, the long anticipated “egg fight” or choukane s yaitsa takes place. Opponents knock each other’s eggs and the one left unbroken is called the winner or borak. The winning egg is kept until next Easter and is a sign of good luck.

Official Easter Programme

Veliko Tarnovo 2015

11 april 2015 (Holy Saturday)

10.30 – 11.30 pm Tsarevets Fortress Gates are opened

11.30 pm Easter Mass at Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God

12.00 pm Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God

Church bell-ringing and fireworks

00.30 am Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God

Religious procession to at the Birth of Holy Mother Cathedral Temple

00.40 am Free dyed eggs and kozunatsi at Tsar Ivan Asen I Square

01.00 am Easter liturgy at the Birth of Holy Mother Cathedral Temple

And of course don’t miss the Sound and Light Show at Tsarevets Fortress on Easter Sunday (April, 12th) starting at 09.00 pm

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