Craftsmen’s Holiday, St. Spyridon (December 12)
The Day of St. Spyridon is also known as the Day of the Masters. St. Spyridon is revered as the patron of potters, tillers, brickmakers, shoemakers, braziers, etc. Traditionally, the Common Craftsmen Association in Plovdiv celebrates on the Day of St. Spyridon. An important part of the Craftsmen’s holiday was the initiatory ritual of the young craftsmen masters. The Craftsmen’s Holiday was celebrated with citywide festivity. The festive manifestation of craftsmen and citizens will begin with the sounds of bagpipes and drums and will continue on the way to the church the Assumption of the Holy Virgin where a solemn liturgy will be held. After the craftsmen treat themselves with pendiharo (The Blessing of Five Loaves of Bread) and kolivo (boiled sweet wheat) in the name of all living and deceased craftsmen, they will go back to the Regional Ethnographic museum – Plovdiv. Then the ustabashiya, the oldest and most venerable craftsman, will summon the candidates for the title, “Master,” give a guiding speech to them, engirdle them with a red belt over one shoulder, gift them with a small toolkit from the craftsmen association and slap them on the neck with the words, “become like me!” In honour of the saint, the craftsmen association bought a male goat which was being sacrificed and cooked. Then all the craftsmen and people from the procession sat around a common table. The kurban was apportioned after the liturgy.