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17820Bulgarians Celebrate Resurrection of Lazarus

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Apr 27, 2013
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      Bulgarians Celebrate Resurrection of Lazarus
      Culture | April 27, 2013

      Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Christians mark Saturday St. Lazarus Day, a
      holiday intimately connected with Easter and having an important place
      in Bulgarian folklore beliefs.

      Also known as Lazarus Saturday, the day is always celebrated on the day
      before Palm Sunday, which in turn is marked on the Sunday before Easter.

      It marks the Resurrection of Lazarus of Bethany performed by Jesus
      Christ and symbolizing the resurrection of Christ himself and the
      salvation of mankind.

      The miracle, done by Jesus four days after Lazarus's death, turned many
      into believers, but also hastened the pharisees' decision to have Jesus
      arrested and killed.

      Thus for Eastern Orthodox Christians Lazarus Saturday also marks the
      imminent Holy Week before Easter, which they call the Passion Week.

      The Great Lent is strictest following St. Lazarus Day, and believers are
      invited to purify themselves and reflect on their faith and their ties
      to their loved ones and neighbors.

      According to Bulgarian folk beliefs, Lazarus Saturday, also called
      Lazaritsa, is a day on which young girls are initated to become future

      In the traditions of old, groups of young women dressed in festive
      clothes walked the town, singing songs bidding health, prosperity and
      fertility to households.

      The girls, also known as Lazarki, meaning Lazarus's girls, also bless
      fields, forests and rivers.

      On Lazarus Saturday, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church also commemorates St.
      Lazarus the Bulgarian, who died a martyr's death in 1802.