[caption id="attachment_101" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Troyan Monastery"][/caption]On August 15 the Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrates the Assumption of Virgin Mary (Golyama Bogoroditsa or Uspenie Bogorodichno). On this day the mother of Jesus Christ is honoured as a patron of motherhood, women, marriage and family. This is also a Name’s Day for those called Maria, Mariana and Mario. Since 1993 the day is also Day of Varna.According to the Christian beliefs this is the day when the mother of Jesus Christ resurrected and joined Her Son in Heaven. Three days before Her death Archangel Michael visited Virgin Mary and told Her that the end of Her earthly life was coming to an end and She was about to go to Heaven. Her last wish was to see the Apostles all together. Her wish came true. The mother of Jesus Christ was buried in a cave near the garden of Getsiman. Although the exit was closed with a stone, a few days later only the linen of Virgin Mary was found. She had already risen to Heaven.[caption id="attachment_104" align="alignleft" width="224" caption="Virgin Mary"][/caption]On the day of the Assumption of Virgin Mary, in the towns where She patrons a church or a monastery, a gathering is organized and a Korban (an animal sacrifice) is given to revere Her. It is believed that Virgin Mary can help childless women to give birth. That is why on this day young brides should not take to sewing and knitting. Instead, they should go to the Church and light a candle in honour of Virgin Mary and offer gifts with the hope to get pregnant and give birth.According to folk beliefs’, August 15 is called Golyama Bogoroditsa (or Uspenie Bogorodichno) to be distinguished from another holiday - Malka Bogoroditsa (September 8)- when Virgin Mary’s Birthday is celebrated. A solemn liturgy takes place in the church and special loaves of bread are sanctified. Then, women give them out for health and in honour of the dead.In Bulgaria, more than 200 churches and monasteries are named Uspenie Bogorodichno. The largest among them are Bachkovo Monastery and Troyan Monastery.
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