Rooster’s Day Traditional Animal Brutality in Bulgaria

Rooster’s day (Petlyovden) Children participate in the Bulgarian ritual slaughter of a Rooster on Rooster’s Day. Photo by Anton Stoyanov. Generally celebrated on 2 February – This Bulgarian folk holiday tradition is celebrated in some regions. It is celebrated mainly in the East of Bulgarian ethnic territory – from Edirne and Kirklareli to Dobrudja. The holiday is seen as a youthful male fertility holiday, but some researchers believe it is a descendant of an ancient Slavic celebration of the Firebird generated through its infancy of the Rooster. The bird is boiled, and the women bake a ritual bread and a candle and a wool bunch as the woman visits the “Grandmothers” of the Midwives’ Day. In an etymology of the word midwife in its more ancient form, is derived from midwyf meaning “with woman” childbirth was only one of the many descriptions. In some villages, the rooster is boiled and women walk and give pieces to their neighbors and relatives. More info: source[divider]


Before the holiday the house is cleaned and painted as always, rituals always get one motivated to clean house, and people wear new clothes. On the holiday they kill a rooster grown specifically for this purpose. Typically, the sacrificial animal is slaughtered on the threshold of the front door. In villages in Karnobat area the cock is slaughtered by a young man (sometimes the father), but it is preferred that the boy himself should kill the cock. Later the little boy is given only to touch the knife with which the bird was sacrificed. The rooster’s blood should sprinkle over the doorstep and the yard around.


The cock’s head and feathers are stuck over the gate or garden fence with its beak pointing out. The faces of young boys are then painted with the bird’s blood, then doors and thresholds of all buildings.


In the villages of Chubra and Gradets it is prepared with onion stew. In addition to cock meal, women bake special bread, which they also give to relatives for health and fertility. People find this meal and bread giving very important, so there should be nothing to stop it. In the past people didn’t work during the day of this festival, and in some places women gather to have fun.


In Kozichino they make a “rooster’s “flag from the box shrub, decorated with cock’s tail feathers, flowers and red thread. The rooster is slaughtered by a mother, who has a male child, and again the blood is sprinkled over the threshold, and children faces are painted with the blood of the bird. The head of the slaughtered cock is thrown on the roof, and feathers are buried in the domestic refuse place. Tail’s feathers are removed and women decorate their heads for the holiday, decorate the flag, and some of the feathers are kept for girls get to Lazarus.


Bon Appétit!


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