Bulgarian Orthodoxism · History · Music · Traditions

Saint Jordan’s day- Йордановден

The 6th of January is a special day in Bulgaria, on this very day the Yordanovden is being celebrated.

Why is Saint Jordan´s day being celebrated?

It is believed that on the 6th of January Jesus Christ was being baptized by John the Baptist. The baptizing shall been taken place in the river of Jordan with God as a witness as He came down to Earth to pronounce him as His son. This day are being honored as the Epiphany. The night between the 5th and 6th of January is the last one of the “incensed” nights. It is believed that on this night the skies shall open and everyone who sees this will get all the things that he/she wishes from God. Many people in the past used to stay up all night watching and awaiting for heaven to open.


Photo:  http://www.giftsbg.net/p/293/

What does it mean to celebrate Saint Jordan´s day?

This is one of the most ancient holidays of Bulgaria and it has been celebrated for century’s. To honor this day Bulgarians throws a ritual were a priest throw a cross into a lake or a river. After that the priest sprinkles some water on the men willing to attend the ritual. When the cross hits the water the men will jump in and try to be the one to find it, whoever finds it will be very lucky and healthy for the rest of the year. It is believed that if the cross freezes in the water it will be a fertile year for the agriculture with lots of harvesting. After this ritual is done the people will go home to feast.

Photo: http://visit.guide-bulgaria.com/a/421/epiphany_-_st.jordan-day_(6_january).htm

The ice dancing

There is another version of celebration of Yordanovden, the focus are still on gathering around the water. All the men that feels like it, will join in the water for Bulgarian folk dance to traditional instruments. Since its the beginning of January the water is very cold and often icy. During the ice dancing there are often alcohol involved to stay warm in the cold water. If you want to witness this, Kalofer is the best town to visit this since its Bulgaria’s biggest ice dancing.

Both rituals attract lots of people to watch the celebrations.



You will find different names for this holiday depending on where in Bulgaria you are. The celebration are also known as Voditzi (Waters) or Krastovden (Day of the Cross).  And of course there day itself can be spelled both Jordanovden and Yordanovden (The day of Jordan).

Names day

Jordan is a very popular name in Bulgaria and of course this is one of the names day on the 6th of January. Many people all over Bulgaria also celebrate their friends and family which are named Jordan. Other names that are including on the names day list are: Bogdan, Bogdana, Dana, Clear, Jordanka, Dancho, Danka, Bogoljub and Bojan.

The 6th of January are certainly a day of celebration in Bulgaria!


Sources for the article:

7 unusual Bulgarian customs and traditions






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