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Tsvetnitsa: Celebrating Palm Sunday in Bulgaria

Palm Sunday in Bulgaria, also called Tsvetnitsa or Vrabnitsa, is a major Christian celebration with many fascinating traditions. In this article, you’ll learn about the significance of Palm Sunday for believers, look at how Bulgarians celebrate it, and gain some relevant Bulgarian vocabulary.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Palm Sunday?

On Palm Sunday, Christians celebrate Влизането на Иисус в Йерусалим (Vlizaneto na Iisus v Yerusalim), or “Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.” According to the Bible, Jesus entered Jerusalem exactly one week before his Resurrection. Upon Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, a crowd of believers greeted him and threw palm sprigs at his feet.

On Palm Sunday, Bulgarians also celebrate the name day for anyone with a Име на цвете (Ime na tsvete), or “flower-related name.” There are many Bulgarian names related to flowers and plants: Tsvetan, Tsvetomir, Tsvetelina, Bozhura, Violeta, Nevena, Varban, Liliya, Zdravko, Yavor, Yasen, Iva, and many others.

2. When is Palm Sunday in Bulgaria?


The Palm Sunday date varies each year, along with the dates of Lent and Easter. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date in Bulgaria for the next ten years:

  • 2020: April 12
  • 2021: April 25
  • 2022: April 17
  • 2023: April 9
  • 2024: April 28
  • 2025: April 13
  • 2026: April 5
  • 2027: April 25
  • 2028: April 9
  • 2029: April 1

3. How is Palm Sunday Celebrated?

Various Easter Decorations

In Bulgaria, Palm Sunday is largely associated with plants, trees, and flowers, in addition to its religious connotation. The two elements often go hand-in-hand in Bulgarian traditions. For example, because people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with palm sprigs, people go to church with flowers or other plants on Palm Sunday. These flowers are then blessed and consecrated.

The most popular of these plants is the sprig of върба (varba), or “willow.” This is where Palm Sunday gets its other name, Vrabnitsa. After the willow sprigs have been blessed, worshipers take them home as Palm Sunday decorations for their front door or elsewhere in the home. Some Bulgarians believe that the willow sprigs protect their home from evil forces and disease, and bring health and happiness. Tsvetnitsa is a holiday of flowers, revival, and youth.

4. Kumichene

Do you know what unique Bulgarian custom is carried out on Palm Sunday?

This popular custom in Bulgaria is called kumichene. This is when girls gather by the river, carrying chaplets (a wreath worn on the head) and ceremonial bracelets called puppet. The girls float these chaplets and beads down the river and watch to see whose chaplet will be first.

5. Essential Palm Sunday Vocabulary

The Word Rosemary as a Name

Are you ready to review some of the Bulgarian vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Palm Sunday!

  • Цвете (Tsvete) — “Flower”
  • Дърво (Dyrvo) — “Tree”
  • Великден (Velikden) — “Easter”
  • Върбова клонка (Varbova klonka) — “Palm leaf”
  • Имен ден (Imen den) — “Name day”
  • Влизането на Иисус в Йерусалим (Vlizaneto na Iisus v Yerusalim) — “Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem”
  • Име на цвете (Ime na tsvete) — “Flower-related name”
  • Върба (Varba) — “Willow”
  • Цветница (Tsvetnitsa) — “Tsvetnitsa”
  • Връбница (Vrabnitsa) — “Vrabnitsa”

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Bulgarian Palm Sunday vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Palm Sunday in Bulgaria with us, and that you gained some valuable knowledge about Bulgarian traditions.

Do you celebrate Palm Sunday in your country? If so, are your traditions similar or quite different from those in Bulgaria? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you’re fascinated with Bulgarian culture and can’t get enough, we recommend that you check out the following pages on

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