Bulgarian winter fortunes

“Okay, in Bulgaria they make Banitsa, which is this pastry made from phyllo and butter. I think there’s also eggs and cheese but I’m not sure. Anyway, in the Banitsa during the holidays, we put individually wrapped fortunes into the dough and then bake it. The fortunes are usually personally made by members of the family, and they’re supposed to be good fortunes like financial success or being happy or good health or love and other stuff. One time when I was younger, I put fortunes that wished bad luck as a joke, and I got in trouble and my parents were not happy.”

The wishes of good fortune and goodwill come heavily into play around the holiday season. The fact that people make fortunes for other people that they personally know is a way I believe to show that compassion for your fellow man, family member or friends. This ritual is taken seriously though as there are consequences for even jokingly putting bad wishes as my informant learned. It is another way of how even small traditions like food need to be reinforced and done properly repeatedly through generations.