The Name day of
everyone named Haralampij, Haralambi, Hari, Harry, Valentin Valentina,
Valery, Valeria. The Greek Haralampios means ‘glowing with
The Orthodox patron saint of bee-keepers.
Honey and beehives are sanctified that day by performing a ritual for
health and rich harvest. On Saint Haralambos's Day, sick or blind
people go to church and pray for healing. Worshippers gather around
candles, stuck to jars
honey, during a religious mass in the church. According to traditional
concepts Saint Haralambos is the lord of all illnesses, especially the
plague. Doing any housework is strictly forbidden that day, because of
the fear of any coming illness. Women are only allowed to bake round
bread and decorate it with a cross in the middle and a large wreath at
the edge for health. Honey is consecrated in the local church and then
all the bread is coated with that honey. The rest of the honey is kept
in the house as a remedy. According to the belief, Saint Haralambos
blesses the land and it gets warmer and ready to be cultivated.
Saint Haralambos died as a martyr in 198 AD in the town
of Magnesia (in Thessaly) where
he was a bishop. He was tortured to death but endured all pain taking
it as the victory over the evil and the flesh. In the icons he was
presented as the lord of the illness, which he kept in nine chains or
held in a bottle.
For this day
women prepare a ritual bread with a big wreath of dough and holes in
four places – at the four cardinal points, like a cross. While the
bread is baked the woman of the house sanctifies a dish of honey in
the church and spreads the honey on the bread. Then she smokes it with
four grains of incense, over a ploughshare or a tile, and breaks it in
four. One piece she leaves at home, the other three she takes to three
houses. It is believed that in this way the house and the family are
protected against the plague and everybody will be healthy and joyful
during the year.
In folk beliefs
Saint Haralampi is the master of the diseases and mainly - the master
of the plague. That is why on this day housework is not done for
protecting from diseases.
Early in the morning women knead and bake loafs and ritual bread which
they decorate with a cross in the middle and several pimples (of the
plague) around it and on its edge they make a big wreath for health.
While they are preparing the bread somebody else from the family
carries honey to the church in order it to be consecrated. People use
honey to spread it on bread and on loafs, then they incense them and
hand them out for health. They save some honey as a remedy throughout
the year. In some places the ritual bread, prepared by the "the
virgins", is carried out of the village in order not to be
In some regions people carefully sweep up the whole house for
"diseases to be swept".
People believe that on this day Aralanbei "aralandisva" (incenses) the
ground and it can be already cultivated.
The holiday is kept mainly in East and West Bulgaria.
Church Holiday: Saint Haralampi - the bishop of Magnezia town
(Tessalia). He dies like a martyr for his faith. He is portrayed as
the master of the disease that he holds in nine chains or closed in a
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