On this day is the first ceremonial trimming of the vines, rituals for fertility are performed. Before sunrise every housewife boils a hen, prepares ritual “Trifonovski” bread and other dishes.

The family then takes the food and goes to its vineyard, led by the householder. Some wine and traditional brandy /rakia/ are taken as well. On the road groups of winegrowers are formed. They go accompanied by the sounds of bagpipes. Each householder chooses one vine, usually the biggest one, pours on its roots some holly water and red wine and puts some of the ritual bread close to the roots as to feed the plant. Later he cuts three barely budding vine twigs, weaves them into a wreath and puts it on his head. He then makes the sign of the cross three times facing the sunrise and says wishes for a rich harvest next year. During the ceremony everyone keeps silence.
Then the jollification begins. The winegrowers choose the one who has produced most wine for Tsar. They call him Trifon and honour him all day long. He invites them to a share together the various dishes specially prepared for the feast. The merriment goes on till the morning comes. Bagpipes are played, people sing and dance, tasting the red wines of all householders. Women do not take up any housework on this day.
Wine is an essential element in all ritual activities that day, a mythological symbol. For the Bulgarians it is the “fluid of life” and is often perceived as blood. It is respected and honoured on equal foot as bread and salt.

Photo: Medi Valley Winery