The 17th of January Bulgarians celebrate Antonov den.
What is Antonov den?
Antonov den is being celebrated by the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to honor the memory of Venerable Anthony the Great.
Who was St. Anthony?
Anthony was born in Egypt around 250 AD. He spent 20 years to complete solitude in the desert, where sick and suffering people came and asked him for help. It is believed that Anthony by the age of 104 attended a conflict of Arianism were he defeated them and the success is called the Triumph of Christianity. The very same year as the Triumph of Christianity St. Anthony passed away, he got buried in a secret place. Later on his relics was found and got transferred to Vienna.
Antonov den and the Bulgarian beliefs
The Christian calendar St. Anthony´s day is celebrated to protect people from sickness and diseases. In the past times women did not knit or spin, and cooked corn, lentil and beans in purpose not to make the disease angry. Back in the days it was forbidden to work in order of protection against the plague. Young brides got up early, around dawn, to bake the bread Choumini (the plague), and they spread honey on top of them “..to please the old lady, the Pague”. After the ritual of baking the bread the young brides walked around the village sharing the bread for good health and chase away the illnesses.
This day is also known as Lelinden (Auntie´s day) because the plague was being referred to as “auntie”.
The legend tells that St Anthony had a twin brother St Atanas, and they were blacksmiths, it is even believed that they were the first to invent tong´s for the blacksmiths. St Atanas are being celebrated the 18th of January, and both these days are being honored for the two patron saints of blacksmiths, cutlers and ironmongers.
The names of this day are: Anton, Andon, Doncho, Antonia, Donka, Tony.
Sources for the article: