Survakane (Bulgarian: Cypвaкaнe) is a Bulgarian custom used to wish
a prosperous new year.
Survakane is a tradition performed with a
decorated stick, known as a survaknitsa or survachka, on New Year's
Day, as a measure for health during the year.
4 External links
Survakane dates back to ancient times, and has its roots in
pagan Slavic rituals.
This much is clear about the origins of the tradition, although
exactly when, where, or by whom it was practiced first is still a
matter of debate. The name of the ritual may have come from the name
Hindu deity of the Sun, Surya. The root sur (meaning "fire")
can be seen in the word as well, perhaps alluding to the rising of the
Sun on New Year's Day. However, there is no similar ritual among
Survakane proper is a ritual in which a member of the family,
typically the youngest, lightly pats the back of others with a
Christmas or on the morning of New Year's Day
(known in Bulgarian as Vasilovden).[note 1] While doing this, he or
she recites a short verse wishing their relative well for the new
year. The members of the family (usually children) who do the ritual
are known as survakari or survakarcheta. Afterwards, these children
are awarded snacks, candy, or small amounts of money.
The poem that survakari varies between different families.
Сурва, сурва година,
зелен клас на нива,
червена ябълка в градина,
пълна къща с коприна,
догодина, до амина.
Surva, surva godina,
Zelen klas na niva,
Chervena yabŭlka v gradina,
Pŭlna kŭshta s koprina,
Dogodina, do amina.
A decorated survaknitsa.
The survaknitsa or survachka is a curled branch of a cornel tree
(Bulgarian: дpян), usually decorated with coins, popcorn, dried
fruits, small bagels, ribbons, and threads, although different
decorations are used in different regions of Bulgaria. Typically,
northern Bulgarian survaknitsas will fruits, bread, and seeds strung
on them, while coins are used in the south. The branches are
usually bent so as to resemble the Cyrillic letter "f" (Ф).  The
selection process for a branch is usually held a few days before New
Year's, in order to have time to decorate the stick as the family sees
The branch can be taken from any live fruit tree, although dogwood is
preferred because of its long life and early blossoming, which are
supposed to represent desirable qualities.
^ Vasilovden is the name day of the name Vasil, among others, and
falls on January 1.
^ a b "Traditions, Crafts, and Ethnography: Survaknitsa" (PDF).
Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, Energy, and Tourism. Retrieved 1
^ a b Crump, William D. (2013). "The
Christmas Encyclopedia". Google
Books: MacFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 52.
^ a b "
Christmas Traditions in Bulgaria". eufriend.eu. Eufriend. 2005.
Retrieved 1 January 2015. SURVAKANE was traditionally performed by
young boys and men, but nowadays it’s a privilege for all
^ Demireva, Elena (23 December 2014). "
Survakane or Surva, Merry
Year!". xperiencebulgaria.com. Xperience Bulgaria. Retrieved 1 January
2015. It is an ancient ritual, which like many other Bulgarian customs
aims to guarantee the health and well-being of Bulgarians...
^ a b Kulekov, G. "Сурвакане". tutmanik.com. People Networks,
Inc. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
^ "The Survakane". www.paylessbg.com. Payless.bg. Retrieved 1 January
2016. Children, mostly young boys, use the sticks to lightly beat
relatives and friends on the back, while reciting or singing verses of
ritual good wishes for health and wealth.
^ Стаменова, Живка. Календарни
празници и обичаи. В: Пловдивски край.
Етнографски и езикови проучвания. БАН.
София, 1986. стр. 250 - 254.
^ "Customs and Traditions:Survakane". balkansko-shops.bg. Balkansko
Tradition and Spirit. 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2016. For its
qualities of being a healthy tree, for being early to blossom and for
its long life it has established itself in the folklore as a symbol of
health and longevity and is preferred for the crafting of a