baby bulgaria

Baby Traditions in Bulgaria

Did you know that around 250 babies are born around the world every minute? 
Bulgarian baby traditions are time honoured customs and like many other cultures their origins are lost in the annals of history. Many families still practice and continue to pass on to the next generation these wonderful customs.

Celebrating Birth & Naming the baby Traditions

Unlike baby traditions in many other countries. In Bulgaria it is unlucky to name the baby before it is born. Likewise in purchasing the clothes before the birth.

baby traditions

The birth is more celebrated when the baby reaches 40 days old.

 These celebration baby traditions are shared in many cultures around the world on the belief that between the date of birth, and the 40th day, mum and baby are still between life and death.

The mother was also considered “unclean” in days of old and as a result, she and her baby were at great risk from evil spirits. 
The 40 day wait allows mother some resting and healing time and a chance to bond with her new baby.

OLD ‘WIVES TALE CUSTOM 
For the first few weeks after a young mother had given birth, she would only be allowed to go out if carrying a wooden spoon. It must be tied with a red piece of thread, carry a lighted candle or wearing a garlic wreath to help ward off the demons.

The ‘Pogacha’ baby Tradition

On or before the 40th day, the mother or other female makes a ‘Pogacha’ (a sweet round bread with no decoration).This is normally made for celebrations in all the Balkan countries. A table is laid with other nice dishes and neighbours invited to come and see the baby.

Only females celebrate the Pogacha baby traditions. Men would have to leave the room or better still the house!

The pogacha baby tradition can differ from region to region but the meanings are the same.

The ‘Pogacha’ is blessed (usually by the midwife who delivered the baby) and covered with a cloth and all the women place money onto the cloth. The corners of the cloth are gathered and tied into a tight knot before being stored away. This baby tradition is to hope that the baby will not grow up to be a spendthrift.

The tradition continues with the mother of the new baby sat in a chair and the bread broken above her head and pieces are given to the guests. Blessings are given to the baby upon receiving the pogacha to wish a happy, healthy, wealthy and wise life and to grow to have many children of their own.

SPITTING IN THE BABY’S EYE

Bulgarian legend has it that ‘the evil eye’ will steal away anything that is overly adored and praised.

When too much attention is given to the baby it is thought that the devil becomes jealous. Through rage and envy, the devil would attempt to steal the child.

This odd baby tradition in Bulgaria is to pretend to make the child undesirable. To pretend the child was not beautiful nor being overly admired, the older women, who come to visit the family, recite the phrase.  ‘’May the hens poop in your eye’’ They then pretend to spit in the baby’s eye.

THE UMBILICAL CORD Baby TRADITIONS

Another of the baby traditions of Bulgaria is the throwing away of the umbilical cord. After the baby has naturally shed its  cord the parents would throw it in a special place that they believe will determine the child’s future vocation. 
If it is thrown in a school it will become a teacher. If thrown in a church a priest and if thrown in the sea become a sailor.

TRADITIONS OF BRINGING FLOWERS

If bringing a small gift of flowers for the mother an odd number of flowers should be brought. An even number of flowers, should only be brought to funerals.

Find out more about Customs and Traditions in Bulgaria