October 14th is Petkovden (Петковден), or the feast day of St. Paraskeva of the Balkans, also known as St. Petka. She is an 11th century Christian Orthodox saint and ascetic, originally hailing from the town of Epivates in modern Turkey. After being called forth by God, she gave away her possessions to the poor and lived out most of her life in the desert. Legend goes, that after she died and was buried, an old sinner who had drowned at sea was buried next to her. Paraskeva protested this by appearing in a dream to a local monk and informing him of her grave's location; when her body was unearthed it was found to be incorrupt (not decomposed.) During the following centuries, her relics would travel around the Balkans, eventually being transferred to Iași, Moldavia, where they remain to this day.
Paraskeva is traditionally one of the most highly venerated saints in Bulgaria. Between 1238 and 1393, when her relics were in Veliko Tŭrnovo, she gained the moniker "Saint Petka of Bulgaria" (Света Петка Българска) and the reputation of a protector of the Bulgarian people, and she is still revered as such today. Notably, Bulgarian tsars, such as Ivan Alexander (1331-1371) would swear oaths in her name.
On the folk side of things, Petkovden is an important agrarian holiday with ancient roots. It marks the end of the autumn harvest and sowing, and the beginning of livestock mating season, which is why it's also associated with shepherds and farm animals. Fittingly, after Petkovden begins likewise the planning of engagements and weddings. On the day itself the village would organize a feast; an animal, usually white, will be ritually slaughtered in the churchyard, a kurban would be prepared and blessed by a priest, after which everyone would celebrate by eating, drinking, singing and dancing. The holiday would function as a sgleda, in other words an opportunity for young people to meet and get acquainted, while being chaperoned by older relatives.
Petkovden is naturally the name day of anyone named Paraskeva, Petko, Petka, or any of their derivatives. Due to her connection to Friday (per her name), St. Petka is also regarded as a patron of women, children and the hearth. Infertile women will sometimes spend the night in a place dedicated to St. Petka, such as the rock chapel near Trŭn (pictured above), in the hopes that she will help them conceive. On the days between Petkovden and Dimitrovden (Oct. 26) there is a traditional ban on feminine activities involving wool – spinning, cutting, sewing – as it is believed that anyone wearing clothes made during this period will be attacked by wolves, or fall ill, die and turn into a vampire. To anyone who doesn't honor this restriction, it is said St. Petka will appear in the form of a snake.
The aforementioned time period (14.10-26.10) is the transition between fall and winter, the latter thought to kick off on Dimitrovden. Thematically, this makes it a liminal period between life and death (not unlike Friday, which signifies the end of the work week and beginning of a period of rest), ergo these restrictions exist as a safeguard against the unknown and chaotic powers, in full swing during this time. This is also why St. Petka is seen as a mediator between the two worlds, pictured in folk legends as dwelling among the dead, and alongside Archangel Michael, judging the souls who wish to be granted entry into Heaven. On Petkovden, individual families will traditionally hold smaller, private celebrations, called semeĭna sluzhba, in honor of their stopanin – a deceased relative, seen as a protector of the household. A ritual loaf of bread would be baked and blessed with frankincense, then placed on the table onto a clean shirt, next to a small bowl of salt and a glass of wine. Every family member will proceed to take three bows before it, after which the eldest present will raise the loaf above their head and say a blessing for health and good fortune. In some regions, a special Petkovdenska Zadushnica is also held in remembrance of the dead. Petkovden is, thus, inextricably linked to rituals like Kokosha Cherkva, which similarly involve ritual sacrifice and seek to appease powers beyond human comprehension.
Petkovden, like many other Bulgarian holidays, represents a layering of Christian traditions and older, pagan beliefs and practices. It has resulted in a saint who is simultaneously a patron of Life and Death (or perhaps more accurately, what lies inbetween?), a personification of fertility and new beginnings and an usherer in of winter and darkness; a day equal parts merry and somber.
Quick question for any Slavic Witches out there, but does anyone know some of the practices of Polish Witchcraft?
My Great Grandmother is from Poland and I was raised in a Slavic Orthodox Christian church. I want to get in-touch with the traditions my ancestors may have used, specifically related to Witchcraft, so if anyone have any resources or guidance, I'd appreciate it.
If you play computer games, I recommend you to try the game "Black Book" by Russian game studio “Morteshka”. The game was released a couple of days ago. It's based on real Russian folklore of Perm region (and not just on tales about poor old Baba Yaga who for some reason always is evil in western interpretations :).
The game is about a Russian peasant girl who becomes a witch for the sake of saving her lover. In the game you will meet various Slavic spirits, talk with them, fight them and/or take them into service. The genre is a RPG/visual novel/card game (fights in the form of a card game).
1. The developers did not have a big budget. So that is why graphics don’t exist (models are funny). Still far landscapes are pleasant and atmospheric.
2. Some of the English-speaking gamers in Steam are talking that it’s difficult to understand and follow all the lore in the game. But still they like it so just be ready for tons of text about folklore, believes, terminology, religion stuff and etc.
1. There are English subs and dubs (but I recommend Russian voices).
2. The game is based on the Russian folklore and a bit of Finno-Ugric (since Perm Region is also a home for Finno-Ugric people). There is a lot of information. If you interested in Russian folklore you MUST play it :)
3. It’s interesting and atmospheric. And that’s not just my opinion :)
4. You can meet demons who possess samovars, speaking demon-cats, depressed demons who is sad because their masters forgot them, demons who want to bring progress to common people, demons who torture sinners... and you can play with all of them in the card game (well most of them). You can help common people or curse them. You can befriend a soldier with pyrophobia, a cat-domovoi, a speaking head... Why yall still don’t play it?
There is a free demo version, try it if you are not sure: Black Book: Prologue
Every Eastern European household has this very specific set of cabinets used to store crystal glasses for "special occasions" (that never actually or very rarely get used) that shakes the whole apartment when you try and open it.
plz shut up about performativity of this kiss, especially if you live in a country with gay marriage, gay adoption, antihomophobic regulations etc.
poland (and the majority of eastern europe) doesn't have any of it, lgbt+ ppl are struggling on daily basis and it's getting WORSE and WORSE
- today during Pride in Łódź (the second largest city in Poland) someone attacked people walking in the march
- last year in Białystok a group of far right homophobes threw cobblestones at the Pride crowd; the police did nothing about it
- Polish LGBT+ activists are constantly being accused of absolute nonsense, arrested and dragged through the courts for "offending religious feelings"
- there are "LGBT+ free zones" aka cities and entire regions in Poland
- not to mention the disgusting political campaign waged by the Polish president last year; he called LGBT+ people an ideology, multiple times
- there's no proper sex ed, no proper psychological help in schools, kids are sacred and depressed; a few days ago the Polish government applauded the speech of a left-wing deputy about the situation of LGBT+ youth and children in Poland; they FUCKING APPLAUDED when she said that children commit suicide because of the lack of acceptance in homes and schools
really, shut up if you don't have to face it every day; that kiss and Damiano's brief speech were a flawless use of his own privilege; he is aware of how hard it is in Poland, what those ghastly people in power are doing to the country, and he made sure to address that on live television; this dumb festival was watched by millions of Poles, lots of kids from small towns who are still living in the closet for their own safety; you have no idea what that stupid kiss could have meant to them