In Bulgaria, winter has been a time of fortune-telling and prophecy for centuries. Just come here, where the delicate cultivation of vegetables, fruit and flowers required exceptionally favorable weather conditions, this time of passive waiting brought with it a particular anxiety before the unknown. So all signs in heaven and earth were carefully observed, trying to guess from them the future harvest of orchards and vineyards sleeping under the snow, and the fate of the herds, which will go to the mountain pastures in the spring.
The Old Bulgarian Book of Prophecies says, that ,,if Christmas is on a Sunday, winter will be mild, and autumn - windy. There will be fruits, a multitude of tetrapods and an abundance of honey”. The forecasts are slightly worse, when Christmas falls on Saturday. Then "…winter will be harsh and windy, and snow will fall on snow. Spring and summer will be wet, there will be little fruit, and the sheep will perish”.
The prophecies also apply to atmospheric phenomena.
And yes, “If thunder and lightning occur in December, there will be a harvest of grain and fruit, but then there will be a cold time in the world”.
The folk wisdom contained in the proverbs still alive here expressed a firm conviction, that if summer was to be fertile, winter should be snowy. So it is spoken in Bulgaria, that "snow godina, fertile year” (snowy year - fertile year). A mild winter does not bode well either, and the local highlanders even stipulate "ot topał januari will give te pazi bog” (God forbid from warm January). They also argue, that "if it's not white at Christmas, Gergiowden will not be green”.
The winter evenings, however, were spent by the Bulgarians of old days not only in prophecy. These days off from farming, ended with long evenings, were especially favorable for social gatherings and all kinds of family celebrations.. This was the winter that the girls who went out to the houses at night waited for, to hear the song of St.. Atanasa - patron city, whose departure into the mountains ended the summer season. Saint Atanas sang:
"Come cold, summer has passed,
And bring with you long nights with evenings”…
Seems, that even in today's Bulgaria, the winter months are more conducive to organizing various kinds of games, celebrations, to visit friends. Just then, when you do not need to rush to work on the plot, after all, it's easier to have a free moment to visit your neighbors and have evening talks over a glass of wine or mastic.
However, it has changed, unfortunately, scenery of the winter ones, neighborhood meetings; it is difficult to revive the atmosphere of old Bulgarian houses in modern apartments, in which family life revolved around a fire burning on the chimney.