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survaki - טיולים לרחבי העולם

SURVAKI (31.12-01.01)

There are several theories about the origin of the name Surva. One of them is traced back to the Thracians who lived in the lands of nowadays Bulgaria and worshiped the sun God who had many names, some of them being Sureget, Surgast, Suroter, Sura, “Sur having the meaning of Sun. The Survaki custom is well-known and widely practiced in all of Bulgaria. It is a ritual for fertility, harvest, health and good luck. Groups of little children who have not yet reached puberty bless each house and family. In a way this is a kind of continuation of the Koleduvane rituals.

The children carry with them a survachka, a thin wooden branch with a specific form which is adorned with dried fruits, popcorn and little round bagel-like bread,

 

THE SURVACHKA


The caduceus is one of the most ancient symbols, carried always by Hermes. In Egypt Hermes is known under the name Tot. Most commonly the caduceus is shown as a rod representing the Pillar of Mildness, while the two serpents around the central rod in turn represent the Pillars of Severity and Mercy. During Ancient Greece the serpents had wings. According to Kurt de Gebijn who bases his research on Atenagoras and Macrobius, the golden rod is the heavenly equator whereas the two snakes, male and female, signify the path of the sun (male) and the night (female). The moment when the body of the snakes is away from the rod comes to represent the growing of the day during the first half of the year and the reverse process in the second half of the year. In this sense, the Bulgarian survachka is used to signify the transition of the period after the winter solstice. During Roman rule there was a reform which shifted the beginning of the year from the spring solstice to the winter solstice. Before this reform the new year would be counted to begin on 1st March, the day of the spring solstice. The name of this day was “Colend”, meaning the one who give birth.

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