Each year, two weeks before Easter, the church in the neighborhood of Gorni Voden in Assenovgrad accommodates a congregation which comes for a specific purpose – to pray for a child birth. In the countryside and throughout the country, the holiday is known as the “Golden Apple” – a name almost replacing the name of the church “Our Lady of the Assumption”. The popularity of the holiday is owing to the unique practice – the couples eat an apple as part of the ritual of conceiving a child. In addition to this practice, the women also receive a conception belt from the church. These two reproductive ritualistic practices are of interest because of the way they are carried out with new integrated elements each year.
These popular customs are part of the folklore-magic tradition of Asenovgrad and have an important place in the description of the history of assistance (help) in conception. What makes them so specific is that they are loaded with symbolism and serve as a link between the personal and collective attempts to tackle the problem of infertility. Considered useful and helpful in overcoming sterility, these practices remain persistent over time, and are still relevant.
Keywords: apple, birth–giving belt, child birth, church, magic, folklore, faith, infertility, ritual, St. Mary