St. Nicolas`s Day is celebrated as a feast day of the Orthodox saint Nikolai. This is one of the biggest winter celebrations in Bulgaria. St.Nicolas`s Day is called Nikulden in this country. It is celebrated on December 6th not only by fishermen and seamen, whose patron the saint is,but by all Bulgarians. St. Nikolas is also a patron of the mermaids,seas and sea creatures.
There are many legends about the saint. One of them is about the wonder maker St. Nikolas who saved a ship from sinking. Whe wonder was that he stopped the hole only with a live carp. On this day the fishermen should go out early of their homes in the morning and catch fish. The tradition is fish and especially carp dishes are eaten on this day. There are many different dishes prepared for this celebration: ribnik (this means:special dish prepared from fish,this is a carp in dough) and ritual bread. Both are almost obligatory. Others are: baked carp filled with delicious ingredients,fish soup,etc.
According to one of the legends: the bones of the carp should be buried in the ground or dropped into the river. People believe that in such a way the harvest and the well-being of the family would be multiplied. The person who prepares the fish dishes should be very careful with the fish bones because if they fall onto the ground and somebidy steps on them, a bad fortune will come for the person and his family.
On this day people wait for guests to share the celebration with. Some people go to church and take part in the ceremonies.
St. Nikolas is a good friend to children because they put their socks and wait for sweets from the good St. Nikolas.
According to the Bulgarian Orthodox calendar the 4th of December-the Day of St. Varvara (the sister of St. Nikolas) and the 5th of December –the day of St. Sava as well as St. Nicolas Day give the start of the Cristmas Ritual cycle.