[caption id="attachment_75" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Goreshtnitsi (The Hottest Days Feasts)"][/caption]In Bulgaria the hottest days of the year called Goreshtnitsi begin on July 15. By the three days – July 15, 16 and 17 – villagers try to tell what the weather will be like during the winter months of January, February and March. During these hot days work should be avoided. According to traditional folk beliefs if someone comes out in the field to reap, fire will descent from the sky to set the sheaves on fire. St. Marina is celebrated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church on July 17. Everyone who is called Marin or Marina has a name day then. The name Marina comes from Latin (“maris”) and means sea. St. Marina was fervently devoted to Christianity and she was cruelly tortured for her Christian faith. Her wounds were even burnt with fire. That is why she is also known as Fiery Marina. St. Marina is considered as a patron saint of fire. On her feast day, the people put out the old fire and light up a new one in the hearth.St. Marina is also celebrated as the holiday of craftsmen whose work is related to fire (such as smiths, blacksmiths, potters and tinsmiths). St. Marina is also commemorated as a healer. It is believed that the springs near chaples and churches she patrons have a miraculous effect on ill people. She is venerated as the lady sovereign of serpents. Therefore, according to folk belief, on July 17 women should not work, cut or knit to avoid irritating a snake.On July 20 Bulgaria marks Ilinden – the day of the Holy Prophet Iliya /Elija/, or Saint Elija’s Day. This is also Name’s Day for those named Iliya, Iliyan or Iliyana. Saint Elija is believed to be the master of rain and dew and is venerated as one of the major prophets of the Bible. People commemorate him as the patron saint of land fertility. On Saint Elija’s Day the oldest rooster is sacrificed to honour the saint. This is also the day of fur-dressers, leather-workers and tile-makers. It is believed that on St. Elija’s Day people should be careful with the sea at it takes human lives to revere the saint.
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