The Bulgarian Calendar

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The Bulgarian Calendar

The Bulgarian Calendar

  • 02 Jan, 2018

We are celebrating the beginning of the 2018th year after the birth of Yeshua Moshiach ben Yosef or translated in English: Jesus Messiah, son of Joseph. This event indeed marked a New Era for the humanity. However, long before that, the most ancient civilizations in the world had developed calendars starting in a very distant past. What few people know is that the Proto – Bulgarians, described by the father of history Herodotus as the second most numerous nation in the world after the Hindus, created the oldest and the most accurate calendar in the world,- a fact recognized by UNESCO in 1976. According to it, we are in year 7525. The Bulgarian calendar is more accurate than the Gregorian calendar and it defers just a few seconds from the astronomical calendar. The UNESCO experts have been stunned by the genius mathematical solution for dividing the year into 365 days and offering the same simple rule for the leap day per every four years. The Bulgarian calendar is SOLAR, it divides into 12 months and also in cycles of 12 and 60 years, which later influenced the Chinese calendar.
The Bulgarian year starts with the shortest day of the year – December 21st, the Winter equinox, interestingly marked as day 0.

This day is still a Holiday in Bulgaria, called Enina day (from the ancien Eni- Alem), or Egnazden. This Holiday is one of the most amazing examples of the perfect blend of the ancient and the Christian cultures. Due to the Christian influence, that day was dedicated to Saint Ignatius, born in Roman Syria and Bishop in the town of Antioch. Saint Ignatius together with many other early Christians who did not honor the Roman gods, were persecuted by the Roman Emperor Trajan and condemned to die in Rome. The martyrdom of Saint Ignatius took place in Circus Maximus where he was eaten alive by hungry lions as an entertainment for the Roman crowds.

Christian martyrs in Circus Maximus, Rome

How the modern day Bulgarians celebrate Egnazden? As a part of a hundreds of years long mixture of pagan and Christian traditions Bulgarians mark Egnazden as the start of the Christmas celebrations, with vegetarian dishes on the table. In the meantime, as a New Year belief, Bulgarians still use a broad number of divinations for the weather, prosperity, harvest, family and livestock’s health and fortune in the coming year. Moreover, people named in honor of Saint Ignatius, celebrate their so called “Name Day”.

Icon of St. Ignatius

There are indeed countless reasons to observe and love the Bulgarian winter holidays!
Happy New 7525 and 2018 !!

Egnazden table


By Nediana Pavlova