Horses Easter, or in Romanian “Pastele cailor”, is an event that takes place every year at Targoviste, Dambovita, in the Bulgarian community and celebrates the union between the farmer and his horse. It is celebrated in the first Saturday of the Easter Fast, also known as the Saint Toader Saturday.
In order to celebrate the Bulgarian farmer prepares his horse in the morning and together go to the church where they receive priest’s blessing and both are spattered with holy water. This is done for a healthy year and for the animals to be defended from evil spirits.
When the church ceremony is over, the Bulgarian women give to others cooked bread that represents the horse. The Konceta, as it is called, is a receipe carefully guarded by tradition and it is a sweet dough with pepper. Horses also get to taste konceta, mainly from the same piece that the farmer eats. This is a symbolic representation of the tight connection between the horse and the farmer, as the horses are considered to be part of the family in the Bulgarian tradition.
After all this is over, the horses are presented in a show where the owners try to impress a jury with the beauty of their animals, the agility and the ability to control the horses moves as they lean on their back legs or do some other tricks. The coverings on the horses or the wagon is also juried and in the end it is chosen the most beautiful and skilled crew of them all.
The Horses Easter is a celebration of joy, of human-horse communion and also is a celebration of spring. (by Octavian Cucolea)