Enyovden (Enyo’s day) is a festival related to the summer solstice. It takes place on 24th June and coincides with St. John Baptist’s Day. It is both a religious feast and a traditional folk ritual. On Midsummer Day the sun is believed to end its journey towards summer and, after rotating three times it turns towards winter. In ancient times there was the popular belief that herbs gathered before sunrise on Enyovden have stronger healing powers than those gathered on any other day of the year, so medicine women went to the meadows and in the woods early in the morning to pick herbs. According to the tradition, on Enyovden children and adults ’bath’ in the dew in order to be strong and healthy. Young women twine a wreath of flowers and herbs and everybody passes through it three times as a ritual for health and fertility.
A renowned herbalist will show everyone how to prepare Enyova Ambrosia. The potion will be prepared at the famous Samovodska charshia as part of the celebrations for Enyovden. The ambrosia is made of herbs picked before sunrise, because at that time on that very day they are most potent. The fluid combines the power of the Sun, water and the herbs. The ambrosia is then prepared following strict rules which you can learn about if you visit the demonstration.
The festive day at the artisan Samovodska Street in Veliko Tarnovo will start tomorrow at 11 am (24th June). Visitors will be presented with the opportunity to try Kuvet Madzhun prepared from 99 herbs and honey. The sweet treat is called the panacea of the ancient Bulgarians because it is said to have protected them from colds, flu and infections. Everyone interested in the recipe can have it for free. According to the tradition there will also be a wreath made of 77 herbs for people to pass through it.
For the most enthusiastic, a very early morning herb picking march to Ksilifor is being organized. The meeting point is in front of tea-house ‘Bilkaria’ next to the Vladishki bridge at 6 am. Many more events and rituals will be held at Ksilifor.