14 February - The Day of Wine
On February 14 we celebrate Trifon Zarezan - the wine day, the wine-growers, the pubs and the gardeners
According to the Orthodox Church, Holy Martyr Triphon was born about 225 years old. in the village of Komsada. He lives righteously and perishes because of his refusal to reject the Christian faith. During the persecution of Christians, the saint was arrested, subjected to torture and beheaded
Initially in Bulgaria on February 14, Trifonovden was celebrated - in honor of Holy Martyr Trifon, considered patron of the vine-growers, wine-makers and pubs. After the Gregorian calendar's admission, his celebration shifted to 1 February , and 14 February begins to mark the Vineyard's Day. According to ethnographers, Trifon Zarezan's celebration dates back to the times when the Thracian tribes wandered in our lands. The aromatic and strong wine produced by them was famous all over the world. According to the Thracians, the narcotic effect of the alcoholic grape drink helped the priests to come in contact with the gods, and for that reason they created the cult.
The Thracian god of fertility, wine and joy is known as Dionysus, and it is believed that Saint Triphon is his later "heir". Although no mention is made of vineyards and wine in his life, it is a fact that the saint's feast almost coincided with the celebration of the Dionysian feasts, during which the vigy *** danced with small sickles in hand in honor of the wine.
St. Valentine’s Day vs. Trifon Zarezan
St. Valentine’s day is celebrated in many countries, even if it is not an official holiday. Bulgaria is no exception. But there’s more.
On 14th of February the holiday of love overlaps with another, more traditional Bulgarian celebration – Trifon Zarezan.
Trifon Zarezan is the day of the winegrowers, innkeepers and gardeners. And yes, a lot of wine is involved in the celebration. But more on that in a second.
The celebrated saint, Trifon, was a healer and a martyr. He was born in Phrygia, the place of origin of grapes and wine. When he was just 17 he became famous for healing the daughter of the Roman emperor Gordian III. The emperor’s successor Trajan Decious, however, was a persecutor of Christians. Trifon was cut by a sword for his faith in 248 AD.
How much wine?
Trifon’s day is an official Bulgarian Orthodox holiday. The old custom dictates that a bread and a hen filled with rice and bulgur is prepared. The men of the village then take food and a jar of wine and go to the vineyard. There they perform a fertility rite for the land which includes taking a few branches and pouring wine in the ground. This ritual is called зарязване (zariyazvane), this the name Zarezan.
After the ritual, the men chose a “king of the vineyard” and adorn him with wreaths. Then, accompanied by music, they go to the village and visit every household. The lady of each house then gives wine, first to the “king”, then to everyone else in the group and a blessing for plenty is said. When the party reaches the king’s house, he puts on new clothes and invites everyone from the village on his table to celebrate (assuming he’s not too drunk by then).
Romantic Date or Getting Drunk?
This, of course, is a very old tradition. It is still done in some smaller villages but generally Bulgarians prefer to celebrate Trifon Zarezan in a more simple way. They just gather with friends and go for a drink. That is, unless they celebrate St. Valentine’s day.
Usually what happens is that people who have significant others celebrate St. Valentine’s day – they go for a romantic date, watch a movie and go to a restaurant. The people who don’t have a love interest celebrate Trifon Zarezan – they go for a drink, alone or with friends. A mix of the two is also possible. In any case, there is a celebration.
I hope that I gave you a good reason to selebrate today