We, the Bulgarians, are really very lucky on February 14. We have two celebrations which we respect equally. We celebrate both Saint Valentine’s Day and the Vine and Wine Day which is better known as Saint Trifon Zarezan. So, you yourselves see that ancient Greek Goddess Aphrodite (Venus in Roman mythology) and ancient Greek God Dionysus (Bacchus in Roman mythology) go hand in hand in Bulgaria on that day. One of my Italian friends found it very interesting and exclaimed once upon a time: “Great. Wine makes love easier”.
The national feast of Trifon Zarezan is dedicated to the patron of vine-growers and wine-makers. It’s their professional holiday which has been observed officially in Bulgaria since the 60s of last century. I will open a bracket here. It’s common that the Bulgarians celebrate one and the same holiday twice. It’s because the Gregorian Calendar was officially introduced by our Orthodox Church in 1968 and church services shifted several days (13-14 days) earlier than the date of celebration itself. That’s the reason why holidays have two dates of observation – according to the new and old calendar. Taking the example of the Day of Trifon Zarezan, church services take place on February 01 while the Day of Vine and Wine is on February 14. Bracket closed.
The day of the patron of vine-growing and wine-making is accompanied by numerous celebrations and contests all over Bulgaria. They culminate in the selection of the “King of Vines” during annual competitions. The King is the most diligent vine-grower and wine-maker who will have good luck all the year round. On the other hand, most of the people try to prove that truth is in wine all day long. And they succeed, indeed. 😀 Others insist that Trifon Zarezan be celebrated as the only, traditional feast in Bulgaria on February 14 because they’re of the opinion that St. Valentine’s Day is a Catholic feast and we are Orthodox. Apart from all of them, there’s also another category of folks who consider the celebration an alternative to all those who are not being in love right now. They haven’t a beloved one whom they can share the celebration with and that’s why commemorating the day of vine-growing and wine-making is still a reason for them to celebrate.
Despite the different opinions and sentiments of the Bulgarian, it’s a fact that both holidays co-exist and St. Trifon Zarezan and St. Valentine are equally well observed with much wine and love. Even the typical greeting on February 14 is “May you be always drunk on love”.
Happy Day of Trifon Zarezan and Saint Valentine to all of you. 🙂