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- European Holidays
14-th February (st. Trifon Zarezan)
When It is saint Valentine's day in the catholic countries, we Bulgarians praise the memory of another saint.
Saint Trifon "Zarezan".
"Zarezan" [zah-rhe-zahn] means grape-vine cutter.
He is our saint of wine. Something like Dionysos but a christian saint not a Greek god.
The day is celebrated in 2 dates. 1-st February (new Julian style) and 14-th February (old Gregorian style).
It is a holiday for all gardeners, grape vine tenders and falconers all around the country.
Nevertheless - The name of saint Trifon is more used on 14-th, when the grape vines are cut for the spring growing.
Young vine branches grown in the last summer need to be cut with a vine cutter (kosser) on uneven branch segments (very often 11 or 13).
This is done in a celebrating fashion while singing and drinking young wine from the last fall (about few months old).
If the vine starts to "weep" with small white tears, the cutter shouts "Let it be rich year!" or "Let it grow big!" and the celebration continues (well, the vines always weep when cut :) ).
The practical part of the cutting is needed so the grapes growing from the vine are rich in sugars and grow bigger.
Uncut vine grows wild and with too much grapes that stay green and sour instead of rich, big and sweet.
There is a funny legend, saying that saint Trifon was a huge fan of wine and was drinking often.
One spring day, he was supposed to go to the vine yard to cut the vines for the spring growth.
He returned drunk and his wife was (of course) furious:
"Drunkard! Be aware not to cut your nose instead of the vines next time!"
Saint Trifon with a playful grin on his face shown with few circular motions:
"Don't lecture me woman! I am cutting like this, and not like this ..."
... and successfully made a cut on his nose :)
and please - drink with moderation ;) !