Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stuffed carp baked in dough / Пълнен Шаран

Nikulden is "The Day of Saint Nicholas" - a great winter festival celebrated by all Bulgarians on December 6th. It is the name day for everyone named Nikola, Nikolay, Kolyo, Nikolina, Neno, Nenka, Nikolina or Nina.

Saint Nicholas is believed to help all the sailors and fishermen. He was born during the third century in Patara, a village situated is
Turkey nowadays. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died during an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra
while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships. Not only is he the patron of sailors and voyagers, but he is also a friend and protector of children. He is the master of the entire submarine realm - fish and water demons - as well as the sea winds. The autumn fishing season ends on this day. The day's catch is to be offered to the saint. Fishermen eat the first fish caught right on the shore, before bringing the rest home.

According to the folk-Christian myths, it is Saint Nicholas who makes the winds rage and cease. Saint Nicholas can walk on the seas and whenever there is a ship in trouble, he would save it. He is the protector of sailors and fishermen, a patron for those who bear his name, a personal or family protector. Like the Greek sailors, Bulgarians also keep icons of St. Nicholas on shipboard seeking protection from storms. Sailors' wives put icons of St. Nicholas into the sea, praying that he will bring their husbands safely back on shore. A special family lineage festival is arranged on Nikulden.

The traditional Nikulden meal in each household is based upon a fish meal - “ribnik” - a carp in dough - is traditional for the holiday. Carp is regarded as Nicholas' servant. There are also two special loaves of bread. The food is blessed at church or at home before being served. After wafting incense over the food, the host raises the bread high, and breaks it in half. He keeps one half while the other one is left on the table. It is on Saint Nicholas' Day that the table is open to all guests and is not cleared before the day is over. Relatives, sponsors and neighbours are invited, the table is sanctified and the feast day ends in songs and fun.
Bishop Nicholas was exiled and imprisoned under the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, a ruthless persecutor of the Christians. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. He died on
December 6, AD 343 in Myra
, and was buried in his cathedral church, where there is an unique relic, called manna, forming his grave. This liquid substance was said to have healing powers which fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day. By his example of generosity to those in need, especially children, St. Nicholas continues to be a model for the compassionate life.
In
Netherlands, St. Nicholas' Day is celebrated with the sharing of candies (thrown in the door), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, and riddles. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts.

There is no secret >>>>>>St Nicolas is archetype of Santa Klaus. 




Stuffed carp baked in dough

1 whole carp with head, clean from insides and scales

Filling:

1 carrot, minced (optional)
½ cup mushrooms (optional)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup walnuts, ground
1 oz white wine
6 tbsp oil
dash of cinnamon (2g) (optional)
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
1 tsp thyme
S&P

Dough for wrapping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
water (¾ cup or less, make a non-stick dough)


Method:

Sauté onion, carrot and walnuts in oil. Season with thyme, black pepper and salt, cinnamon. Add walnuts and raisins.

Roll out the dough in one sheet with thickness ¼ inch.


Stuff the salted carp with mixture and stitch it. Rub with pinch of salt and oil outside and wrap in the dough.




Fold up the dough scales and bake (230°) for 40 min or until the crust is golden brown.

***

Why carp?

In Eastern Europe and Asia is a common tale: if you catch a goldfish and it relise it the same one will fulfill your desire. This fish has a bone in his head, which is proportional to the cross of Christ.


Carp, along with many of their cyprinid relatives, are popular ornamental aquarium and pond fish. The two most notable ornamental carps are goldfish and koi. Goldfish and koi have advantages over most other ornamental fishes, in that they are tolerant of cold (they can survive in water temperatures as low as 4 degrees Celsius), can survive at low oxygen levels, and can tolerate low water quality.
Goldfish (Carassius auratus) were originally domesticated from the Prussian carp (Carassius gibelio), a dark greyish brown carp native to Asia. They were first bred for color in China over a thousand years ago. Due to selective breeding, goldfish have been developed into many distinct breeds and are found in various colors, color patterns, forms and sizes far different from those of the original carp. Goldfish were kept as ornamental fish in China for hundreds of years before being introduced to Japan in the 15th century, and to Europe in the late 17th century.
Koi are a domesticated variety of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that have been selectively culled for color. The common carp was introduced from China to Japan, where selective breeding of the common carp in the 1820s in the Niigata region resulted in koi. In Japanese culture, koi are treated with affection, and seen as good luck. They are popular in other parts of the world as outdoor pond fish.




Fish symbolism



To fully appreciate the symbolic meanings of fish, we must first consider their watery domain.
Water holds ancient symbolic meanings dealing with the subconscious and depth of knowledge. Water contains all the mysteriousness of the unknown.
Consider the murky depths of the ocean – we never know quite what to expect there. Even seasoned oceanic explorers are still awed by their findings from the deep.
Water holds endless mystery to us – it represents that which is certainly there, but cannot be seen.
Water has also been known to be a womb symbol and as such, an emblem of birth, fertility and woman-ness. This association comes from many ancient flood myths, and the “from water springs life” concept.
Given the wonder that its domain holds, the fish too has similar symbolic meaning. There are numerous species of fish, but the creature in general holds some prime symbolic meanings:
·                            fertility
·                            eternity
·                            creativity
·                            femininity
·                            good luck
·                            happiness
·                            knowledge
·                            transformation
The fish was sacred to the Greco-Roman mythology, where it held symbolic meaning of change and transformation. We see this in the myth of Aphrodite and Heros when they turned themselves into fish in order to escape from the ferocious Typhon.
In Christianity, the fish is a symbol of abundance and faith as observed in the Biblical story of fishes and loaves. There are also several Biblical references as Christ and his disciples being “fishers of men.” Here, man is represented as the transformational fish and the ocean is a symbol of the abyss of sin in which man finds himself.
Pagan traditions recognized the fish as a feminine symbol of fertility and an attribute of the Goddess. Water is a natural emblem of the flow of the Divine Mother principal, and as such, all creatures of the water (including fish) are aspects of the fertility and power of the female deity.
As an ancient Celtic symbols, the symbolic meaning of fish (salmon, specifically) dealt with knowledge, wisdom, inspiration and prophecy. Ancient Celts believed the salmon derived its wisdom from consuming the sacred hazel nuts from the well of knowledge (Segais). Further, they believed to eat the salmon would mean gaining the wisdom of the well too.
In ancient Eastern Indian mythology, the fish is a symbol of transformation and creation. This is observed in the ancient flood myth in which Vishnu transformed himself into a fish (Matsya) to save the world from a great flood. In this form, he guided king Manu’s boat (which contained the select few survivors & seeds of life to re-create the world after the flood subsided) to safety.
Ancient African creation myths tell of Mangala, the creator, planting seeds in the cosmic womb. From these seeds two fish erupted, and were set forth into the cosmos upon the waters of creation. We see from this myth the symbolic meaning of fish yet again deals with fertility and creativity by embodying a new phase of initial life.
In China, the fish is symbolic of unity and fidelity as it is noted that fish (particularly koi) often swim together in pairs. With this in mind, fish are often given as wedding gifts in the form of charms or figurines to present the newly-wed couple with an auspicious sign of fidelity and perfect union. They also represent fertility and abundance due to their ability to reproduce in speed and volume.
Furthermore, in Buddhism, the fish symbolizes happiness and freedom. Also the fish makes an appearance as one of the eight sacred symbols of the Buddha: 1) Conch, 2) Lotus, 3) Parasol, 4) Wheel, 5) Knot, 6) Pair of Golden Fish, 7) Banner of Victory, 8) Vase.
Lastly, in Norse and ancient European cultures, the fish had symbolic meanings of adaptability, determination, and the flow of life. It was observed by these cultures that fish often display enormous attributes of adaptability in the wild, and they adopted these characteristics for themselves. Salmon were commonly revered for their determination in their annual pilgrimage to their spawning grounds – the entire journey swum against the current.


2 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your wonderful blog. I love it.

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  2. Thank you!I appreciate that because I love your photographs!:)))

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