Today is Tsvetnitsa (Цветница, from tsvete = flower)! Today Bulgarians who have the names of flowers celebrate!
Bozhura, Violeta, Dalia, Dafina, Elitsa, Jasmina, Zdravko, Kamelia, Kalina, Liliana, Margarita, Malina, Nevena, Ralitza, Roza, Tsveta, Yavor, Yagoda, happy name day to you all!
Bulgarians are lucky to have not only birthdays, but also name days! A name day is usually the holiday of a saint, and everyone with this name celebrates. For example, Valentin, Valentina, and Valio ought to celebrate on February 14th! They would prepare dinner or at least offer some rakia and salad to every guest that comes to their house. No invitations are necessary because everyone knows the dates of major name days. No presents are expected either, only flowers for the ladies, because all you need on this bright day is good food and good company.
The popular celebration of Tsvetnitsa of course has a religious origin. Tsvetnitsa is a Christian holiday (Palm Sunday in Catholicism) that marks the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem. It is celebrated on the Sunday before Easter. It takes place during Lent but people usually prepare fish.
Another name for Tsvetnitsa is Vrubnitsa (Връбница, from vurba = willow tree). According to the tradition, we bring willow tree branches that were sanctified in the church, twine a wreath from them, and hang it on the front door of our home. The willow branch symbolizes the palm leaves with which the people of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus and bring health and good luck to the house.
Take a look at this wonderful blog post on Tsvetnitsa-Vrubnitsa from Mystagogy. And read my other posts on Bulgarian traditions!