Saint Yordan

Do you know another mammal other than the polar bear that gets into the water when there is snow outside and the air temperature is -15? You may know it or not. In our country we have a tradition that is celebrated after New Year’s Eve and the day is January 6.

It is when the local priest throws a cross in the nearby river and a group of brave men jump into the water to see who will find it first. Those who want to cleanse their souls and protect themselves from diseases during the year should take home some water before the cross is thrown.

Saint Yordan or Yordanoven Tradition in Bulgaria
Photo by Nikolay Pandev

When

Bulgarians celebrate it on the morning of the 6th of January.

Where

One of the most well-known spots to celebrate is Kalofer.

Additional information

Make careful to arrive early because the place can quickly get busy.

Regardless of the weather, the ritual should be performed whether there is snow, strong winds or temperatures below 0.

Anyone who wants to participate can do so as long as he is prepared physically and mentally. It is believed that the first one to find the cross in the water will be very productive and healthy during the year. In different parts of the country, such as the ones on the coast, men jump into the Black Sea.

If you are near the city of Kalofer, you can see a traditional dance called “Mujko Horo”, which is danced in the Tundja River. Wherever you are, prepare yourself well for this freezing experience.

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