Palm Sunday marks Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. On the previous day – Saturday – Jesus Christ raised Lazar from the dead. The holiday is named after the resurrected Lazar (St. Lazar’s Day).
Traditionally, on St. Lazar’s Day young girls (lazarki) walk around the town/village singing and carrying flowers and blooming branches with them. They perform a variety of customs connected to the holiday, dressed in special traditional clothes. They sing to all the family members of each household they visit. In return, the host gifts them eggs for Easter or money. It is believed that a house visited by the young ladies will have good luck throughout the whole year.
Everyone takes one and brings it home as it is a widely spread belief that these twigs not only bring health and happiness but can also heal a diseased person.
The willow twigs symbolize the palm trees placed on the ground by the people as Jesus entered Jerusalem. He came into the town on a donkey back and the believers put their own clothes as well on the ground.
Usually, families go to church on Palm Sunday and take a couple of twigs. Then, a willow twig is weaved into a wreath and placed on a child’s head for health.
Some of the most beautiful churches in Plovdiv are part of the Free Plovdiv Tour . If you are in Bulgaria during Palm Sunday you can carry your wreath on the way of the tour 🙂
Palm Sunday is also celebrated as a Name Day for people who carry the name of a flower, plant, tree or other forms of vegetation. The holiday is also called ‘Tsvetnitsa’ in Bulgaria which means ‘Flower Day’.
You can learn more about the holiday on our Cultural Tour HERE