New Year’s Eve Customs and Traditions in Bulgaria


In just a few hours it will be 2015! Here are some of the highlights in welcoming the New Year in Bulgaria.

Festive Dinner

One of the most important traditions is the preparation of the holiday dinner. The table should be full with delicious food. The most common dishes in Bulgaria for New Year’s dinner are pork with cabbage, steaks, roast turkey or rooster, rice, other vegetables and fruits. Onion, garlic, corn, dried fruits, wallnuts, pickles and wheat are a must!

Banitsa with fortunes

One of the symbols of the New Year’s Eve dinner in Bulgaria is the so called “Banitsa” with fortunes. This is a traditional Bulgarian food prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs and pieces of cheese between filo pastry (a paper-thin sheets of dough) and then baking it in an oven. In the “Banitza” we put a lot of fortunes (only on New Year).

We usually put pieces of paper with written wishes and a coin. Some people put a piece of dogwood branch with a bud which symbolize health. Part of the tradition is putting the dogwood pieces in the burning fire. If they pop this means health and wealth for the upcomming year.


Bulgarian Banitsa, Photo is licensed under CC by 3.0

Everyone in the house take a piece of the “Banitsa” and the lucky charm in it determines the upcoming year. There should be enough pieces of the meal for everyone in the house + 1 additional piece. It is called St. Mary.


‘Bulgarian Survachka’, Photo is licensed under CC by 3.0


Another really important part of welcoming the New Year is “survakane”. This is one of the most famous rituals in Bulgaria. It starts in the early morning of January 1st. Group of children gather together and go from house to house and use the“survachka”, richly decorated wooden stick, to lightly beat relatives and friends on the back while saying a special poem with wishes for health and wealth.

In return the owner of the house gives them some money and treats. The “survachka” is made from wood, usually a cornel-tree. Children decorate their survachki with popcorn, colorful treats and sometimes coins.

So this is how we do it in Bulgaria! What are your New Year’s traditions?

See more: How to say “Happy New Year” in all 50 countries in Europe

Written by

Travel blogger and tourism graduate from Bulgaria, working in the field of Digital Marketing and PR for travel brands.

Latest comment
  • Thank you, Maria, very well written!