An exhibition devoted to vines, wine and joy was opened in the Regional Ethnographic Museum, Plovdiv on 1st February.

In our national calendar the celebration of St. Trifon Zarezan inherits the ancient festivities of the Thracian deity Dionysus. The Thracians, living in our lands at that time, were famous vine-growers and winemakers. Hesiod, in his poem "Works and Days" (VIII-VII c. BC), gives pieces of advice for grape harvesting and winemaking:

"When Orion and Sirius are come into mid-heaven cut off all the grape-clusters and bring them home. Show them to the sun ten days and ten nights: then cover them over for five, and on the sixth day draw off into vessels the gifts of Dionysus" (from "Works and Days", translation H.G. Evelyn-White)

This exhibition is like an ode to the wine – the only drink that has its own God in the Antiquity and its saint in the Christian epoch. On the twelve richly illustrated exhibition panels you will find legends for the origin and interesting facts about the cult of the most respected God in Thrace – patron of the reviving nature. You will see how the pagan God was succeeded by the Christian saint and what was his place is in the Church ritual and in the folk customs. You will learn about Thrace – the motherland of vine and the "delicious wine". The wine is both a drink and a cure for the people. But it is also a gift from the Gods, a means to communicate with them.

The exhibition was accompanied by the rituals on St. Trifon`s day and the ritual cutting of the vine in the yard of the Ethnographic Museum. Everything was richly poured on with wine for a future prosperity.

The text is provided by REM - Plovdiv: www.ethnograph.info