Iglika Mishkova, ethnologist and curator of the Ethnographic Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Science (BAS) in an interview with FOCUS News Agency about the Midsummer festival
FOCUS: What symbolizes Midsummer festival, when it appeared and why is it so popular?
Iglika Mishkova: It is hard to say exactly where are the roots of the holiday, probably in the pagan antiquity. This is the last day of summer solstice, and actually it is believed that by midsummer St. Enio throws his jacket and went to ask the Lord for the winter. At the moment I am in Starosel, where we conduct field research. We conclude that the practice today is alive and very attractive thanks to a group of youths who represent "old" rituals. Women from the village who are united by their folk group from the local community center, also present the ritual - first at the hill and then around the hotel, hoping thus to attract more tourists to their village.
FOCUS: What are the folk customs of Midsummer? What are the characteristics?
Iglika Mishkova:In all regions is believed that since the day before the sun has shone the longest, it has its magical powers and loaded with extremely high energy absolutely all herbs. Herbs picked at Midsummer were very healing. In many regions of the country people believe that herbs are loaded through the stars that night were plunged into the water and brought its healing effect on them. Therefore, today's early morning before sunrise, people go at the high hills, where can pick a variety of herbs. And when monitoring the solar sunrise, people watch their shadows - if they are whole that portends a strong year. All roll in meadows bathed in dew, washed in streams and rivers, because "they had bathed the sun." In some regions on this day had been performed the ritual called Midsummer bride, which today can be seen only as reconstruction.
FOCUS: What herbs are gathered today according to tradition?
Iglika Mishkova: One of the strongest and most emblematic of the day is Galium herbs. Once people have picked 77 herbs and made wreaths from them. Practice to gather various herbs of Midsummer is alive today. Today in Starosel hands of all were full of lady's bedstraw, hypericin, oregano, thyme, rosemary, lavender, rue. Women in the group with sadness are remembering the old times when they were young and could not get married without rue, but enjoyed the interest of young people.