Cutting the First Vine in Skalitsa

Cutting the First Vine in SkalitsaThis Sunday 7th February was celebratory day in Skalitsa village where the first vine is cut. This happens in various areas of Bulgaria where top-notch politicians are seen to perform the first snip of the wine-giving vine.

In Skalitsa this happens every year, but I've missed the last two and only got to witness this one by accident with neighbours begging us to go with them to the village centre. To be quite honest I wasn't really in the mood and wanted to spend quality time with Galia, as we don't get to do that during the week.

We decided that I would go alone, as Galia knew she would be the topic of conversation in the village centre with Skalitsa representing many villages in the area. Instead, all I got was 'Where's Galia?' when I arrived there and mixed into the crowds. I have written a detailed account of this day in my first year here which is due to be published soon on my other blog (365 Bulgarian Adventures) so I won't go into to much details for fear of repeating myself.

Needless to say, I understood far more this year than I did on my first year here. Basically there are a lot of speeches, performance or poetry, acting, singing, dancing and many speeches from the politicians who never miss a trick to gain favouritism in the public eye. The television cameras were there as well, I noticed they just focused on the VIPs speeches and actions and one or two side events form villagers, understandably mainly geared towards national interest.

The event gives prizes to villagers who had entered the wine and Rakia competitions. There were many categories of wine and Rakia and it is a big accolade to win, where they get a certificate and prize. The main winners were from Skalitsa, that wasn't bias, jus that Skalitsa is one of the biggest villages in the area and more people from Skalitsa entered the competition.

At the end of the ceremony and much public talking and performing and after quite a few glasses of free red wine served from a massive wooden wine barrel. I don't often drink wine so it was a very pleasant change as the mingling went on. Finally, with a candyfloss in hand I went back to see Galia. If you want to see more of the event visit the report was made by the Yambol press, it's in Bulgarian but the pictures give you a taste of what went on, very colourful.

Cutting the First Vine in SkalitsaBy the time I had got back the candyfloss has almost disappeared it had just seemed to evaporate. I'd never remembered candyfloss evaporating when I was a kid, but then it was eaten straight away. Galia looked at me curiously as I offered her a stick! I'm sure she though I had eaten it en route. With that we both enjoyed the rest of the afternoon pruning our own vines in the summer-type day in February.

Photograph of the kid and the candyfloss is courtesy of