Celebrating Tectonica’s Holiday Traditions

At Tectonica, we’re extremely proud of the diversity of our team, including how international we are. As we approach the holidays, we thought it’d be fun to share the different holiday traditions that are celebrated by our staff. From pooping logs to keeping your dinner alive in the bathtub, there’s something for everyone in these fun and unique traditions from around the world.

Aro, Sales & Executive Assistant

Where I’m from:

Originally from Armenia, but moved to Bulgaria with my family when I was a wee lad. Because of that, moving around the world has become a thing for me. I’ve got a whole bag of traditions to draw from, but the one I picked is very special.

What holiday traditions do you celebrate?

Survakane. Gist of it is you beat people with a stick and they give you money. Oh, and you also chant a poem to rub it in.
In all seriousness, this is a beautiful tradition that dates back to ancient times. On Christmas Day or January 1st kids from all ages all across Bulgaria engage in the ancient tradition of Survakane. Survachkas are the central point of this tradition.

The process goes like this: a member of the family, family friends or neighbours, typically children, lightly “beats” the back of others with a survachka during Christmas or on the morning of New Year's Day (known in Bulgarian as Vasilovden). They recite a short verse wishing their relative wellbeing for the new year. The children who do the ritual are known as survakarcheta. The rewards from the ritual are candy, or (preferably) small amounts of money.

Poem

Surva, surva godina,
Vesela godina,
Zelen klas na niva,
Chervena yabŭlka v gradina,
Pŭlna kŭshta s koprina,
Zhivo-zdravo dogodina,
Dogodina, do amina.

The survachka itself is a curled branch of a cornel tree, 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 have 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 fit.

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The survachka itself is a curled branch of a cornel tree, 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 have 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 fit.

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