Today is a day of the help during childbirth, of midwives and gynecologists, known also as "Babinden". This is one of the biggest traditional women's celebrations. The holiday is pagan and comes from the ancient Slavic times but it was preserved during the Revival. In 1951 the 21st January was proclaimed for the day birth help, midwives and gynecologists.
This day is special for the prospective midwives who are trained at the Medical University of Varna. Five of the most vocal students in fourth year from the specialty "Midwives" greeted all of their colleagues and the Rector of the University – Prof. Dr. Krasimir Ivanov with songs for health, fertility and welfare. This was initiated by the Department of healthcare at the Faculty of Public Health.
Rituals on this day are aimed at expressing honor and respect to the elderly women who helped during childbirth. Once the midwife got up early and visited the houses in which she had helped in delivering a baby. She wore white and red wool, sticking them with honey for hair in girls and mustache and beard in boys. She blessed them to live to be old and to go white. She threw wheat grains, gave them to lick honey and says:
"Be red as this wool,
Grow up as wheat,
Have many children as a hive."
Mothers poured water from the tap early in the morning and added a bunch of geranium or basil as a symbol of health, well-being and fertility. They went to the midwife's house and gave her soap, poured water from the jug on her hands and gave her a cloth in which there was a coin. Sometimes, according to the degree of gratitude, the women made larger presents. They had to give some meal, bread and wine. After that all of them sat around the table and ate, sang and danced the traditional Bulgarian dance "horo". During the celebration men are not allowed to present.
Happy holidays dear colleagues!