Sofia. Roma people in Bulgaria mark their biggest holiday – Bango Vasil [English: the limping Vasil], aka Vasilitsa. The celebration of the holiday starts on the night of January 13 and continues on January 14 and 15.
The day is marked as the start of the New Year by many Roma groups in Bulgaria. Over the past few years it has turned into a Day of the Roma Culture.
The holiday is connected with the legend that Saint Vasil, patron of the Roma people, recovers the bridge the Roma people used to use after the Devil destroyed it.
The night of January 13 to January 14 is an equivalent of Christmas Eve. It is a family holiday and all members of the family gather at home at a festive table with chicken meat with rice and pickled cabbage.
On the morning of January 14 the Roma kids tour the houses of the neighbours with survachkas[survachka, survaknitsa – a decorated cornel twig used by children to tap people’s backs when wishing them a Happy New Year to wish health, prosperity, luck and a rich crop.