EPIPHANY (ST. JORDAN’S DAY)
6 JANUARY

CLUSTER LOAF  |  CABBAGE LEAVES STUFFED WITH GROUTS  |  WHEAT IN THE STARA ZAGORA STYLE

On 6 January the Bulgarian people observe Epiphany or St. Jordan’s Day. This festival has different names in the different parts of the country, some of them are Krastovden /Day of the Cross/, Voditzi /Waters/ or Vodokrashti /Waterchristen/. The night before St. Jordan’s Day is the last one of the ”incensed" nights. Once again there was ritual bread on the table, but this time, in honour of millet, it was not made of pure wheat flour but of mixed wheat and millet flour. In some Bulgarian regions maize meal, instead of millet, is added to the flour. The feast diet includes also mashed haricot, boiled cabbage or stuffed cabbage leaves, walnuts, wine. All the dishes are lenten fare, although the Advent is already over. The meals would be censed by the eldest man in the house. According to the popular belief, in the dead of night on Epiphany the skies open and everyone who sees them, will be given by God all things he/she wishes. In the past, many people used to sit up all night watchfully awaiting the heaven to open. The twelve dirty days end up on St. Jordan’s day too. From then on till the First Sunday before Lent weddings were permitted. To keep healthy, everybody took part in the blessing of water, when the priest threw the cross in water - in a river, or if there was no river near by - under running fountain water. Young men would dive in the cold water regardless of the frost (below-zero temperatures are typical of the weather in Bulgaria in this time of year) and take the cross out of the water. The priest sprinkles the people attending this ritual with water, using a bunch of basil, and then everybody goes home to feast.



In the past, most Bulgarian women used to make a special loaf of bread for the festive dinner. If you wish to immerse in the atmosphere of St. Jordan’s Day, prepare a cluster loaf.
   

CLUSTER LOAF
Ingredients
  • 1 kg of flour
  • 1 teaspoonful of salt

Directions:


The main course on this day may be cabbage leaves filled with grouts.
 

 
CABBAGE LEAVES STUFFED WITH GROUTS
Ingredients
  • 12-14 leaves of pickled cabbage
  • 2 teacupfuls of grouts
  • 3 coffee-cupfuls of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoonful of red pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 spoonful of dried savoury

Directions:



 

The sweet course for St. Jordan’s Day that we suggest here is wheat in the Stara Zagora style. This is a recipe typical not only of the city of Stara Zagora, but in the whole surrounding area. This dish is wholesome, tasty and suited to the winter season.
 

 

WHEAT IN THE STARA ZAGORA STYLE
Ingredients
  • 2 teacupfuls of wheat
  • 1 teacupful of ground walnut kernels
  • 1 coffee-cupful of raisins
  • 1 spoonful of bread-crumbs
  • sugar

Directions:


SOURCES OF REFERENCE:
Grozeva, Vera. Orthodox Traditions and Old-time Bulgarian Folk Beliefs. Sofia, Ivan Vazov Publishing House, 1997.
Petrov, L. et al. Bulgarian National Cuisine. Sofia, Zemizdat, 1984.
Kancheva, Nevyana, Ada Atanassova. Modern Cooking. Kolhida /Colchis/ Publishing House.