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Honey and beehives are sanctified in Bulgarian Orthodox church ceremony

Vassil Donev / EPA

Bulgarian Orthodox faithful light candles with jars of honey during a holy mass for the 'sanctification of honey' at the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin church in the town of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria on Feb. 10. Honey and beehives are sanctified by performing a ritual for health and rich harvest.

Dimitar Dilkoff / AFP - Getty Images

A woman prays in the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin church in Blagoevgrad on Feb. 10, during a celebration in honor of St. Haralambos, protector of the beekeepers.

More details from photographer Vassil Donev:

On St. Haralambos' Day, sick or blind people go to church and pray for healing. According to traditional concepts, St. Haralambos is the lord of all illnesses, especially the plague. Doing any housework is strictly forbidden that day, because of the fear of any coming illness. Women are only allowed to bake round bread and decorate it with a cross in the middle and a large wreath at the edge for health. Honey is consecrated in the local church and then all the bread is coated with that honey. The rest of the honey is kept in the house as a remedy. According to the belief, St. Haralambos blesses the land and it gets warmer and ready to be cultivated.