Zdravche Venche is a Bulgarian song in 2/4 linked to the ritual traditions of the Summer Solstice. Zdravets, a sacred flower in Slavic culture and known here as 'wild geranium', is often grown around the door in Balkan homes, and carried to friends and neighbors as a blessing for visits. I learned this song from Dessi Stefanova, director of the London Bulgarian Choir, who described the ritual of young people rising at dawn on the Summer Solstice to go out into the meadows and harvest Zdravets to make garlands for their heads. This song would be sung at that time, in this simple call and response format conducive to walking in a group.
Solo or Duet: Zdravche venche / Choir: lyan more lyan more lyan
Tsvete mirizlivo / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Slavei pile / lyan more lyan more lyan
Rano e zapyalo / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Peeh, peeh / lyan more lyan more lyan
Sal devoyki budi / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Aide momi / lyan more lyan more lyan
Momi i ergeni / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Da ideme / lyan more lyan more lyan
Tsvete da bereme / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Rosna kitka / lyan more lyan more lyan
Ventsi da vieme / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Geranium, fragrant flower.
The nightingale started singing early.
He sang and sang to wake up the maidens.
“Come on maidens, and young men.
Let’s go to pick the flowers, the fresh herbs,
to make the garlands!”