Bulgarian Traditions - Pictures of Bulgaria

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Bulgarian Traditions

Bulgarian Traditions


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Bulgarian Traditions Tours

Visit Bulgarian Traditions as part of our Festival of Roses in Kazanluk 7 days Programme

About Bulgaria: Bulgarian Traditions

Bulgarian Traditions - Pictures Of Bulgaria
The traditional holiday calendar of the Bulgarians is varied and complicated. The ancient culture on the Balkans has left its imprint on the calendar of the various holidays and ceremonies in Bulgaria. There are events and customs dating milleniums back, combining totemic, animistic pantheist and monist elements characteristic of Mediterranean Antiquity.
In a concise version the traditional holiday calendar of the Bulgarians would look like that:

JANUARY
1 - Sourvaki (St. Vassils Day)
6 - St. Yordans Day (Epiphany)
7 - St. Ivans Day (St. Yoan the Baptist)
8 - Grandmothers Day (Midwifes Day)
17 - St. Antons Day
18 - St. Atanass Day
20 - Roosters Day (Day of Fertility)

FEBRUARY
1 - St. Trifons Day (Trifon Zarezan)
2 - Candlemas
3 - St. Simons Day
10 - St. Haralampis Day
11 - Vlass Day (Shrove Day - always on Sundays, eight weeks before Easter)
Shrovetide (the first Sunday before Lent) - always on Sundays, seven weeks before Easter
St. Todors Day (Horse Easter) - on Saturdays after Shrovetide
(The last three holidays depend on Easter Day and are not fixed. For the next few years Easter will be celebrated as follows:
2002 - May 5
2003 - April 27
Easter is always on Sundays and is used to determine the days of the Christian holidays, which have no fixed dates.)

MARCH
1 - Granny Martas Day
9 - St. St. 40 Martyrs
25 - Annunciation

APRIL
St. Lazars Day - always on Saturdays a week before Easter
Palm Sunday - on Sunday a week before Easter
Easter - look at above-mentioned dates
Low Sunday - on Sunday after Easter
Sofinden - on Monday after Low Sunday (Prayers for healthy cattle and against drought)
14 - St. Martins Day

MAY
1 - Prophet Yeremiahs Day
6 - St. Georgis Day
12 - St. Germans Day (Prayers against hail)
21 - St. St. Konstantin and Elenas Day
St. Spas Day always the 40th day after Easter
Pentecost (Holy Trinity) always the 50th day after Easter
Roussalya (Holy Ghost) - the 51st day after Easter

JUNE
11 - St. Bartholomews Day
15 - Vidov Day (Prayers against hailstorms and other natural disasters)
24 - Enyos Day
29 - Peters Day (St. St. Apostles Peter and Pavel)
30 - Pavlyovs Day (the Day of the 12 Apostles)

JULY
1 - St. Vrach
20 - St. Iliyas Day
22 - St. Maria Magdalenas Day
27 - St. Panteleis Day

AUGUST
1 - Makaveis Day
6 - Holy Transfiguration
15 - Assumption

SEPTEMBER
1 - St. Simons Day (Start of the ecclesiastical year)
8 - Birth of the Holy Virgin
14 - Krustovden (Day of the Cross)
17 - Faith, Hope and Love (and St. Martyr Sofias Day)

OCTOBER
14 - St. Petkos Day
19 - St. Yoan Rilski Thaumaturge
26 - St. Dimiturs Day
27 - Mice Day (Prayers against the evil)

NOVEMBER
8 - Michaelmas
21 - Presentation of the Holy Virgin
23 - St. Alexanders Day
30 - St. Andreis Day

DECEMBER
4 - Day of Martyr Varvara
5 - St. Savas Day
6 - St. Nikola s Day
20 - St. Martyr Ignats Day
24 - Christmas Eve
25 - Christmas
27 - St. Stefans Day
31 - New Years Eve

The Kukeri Carnival is celebrated on St. Vassils Day and St. Trifons Day and has been preserved since Thracian times. German and Butterfly are Slavic holidays, Grandmothers Day, St. Todors Day, Granny Martas Day, St. Ivans Day, Mice Day and St. Ignats Day are ancient Bulgarian holidays, and the rest are Christian holidays from different periods.

There are church services during all of them, since they have been canonised though some are of heathen nature. Some are accompanied with public prayer processions, holy masses, hymns and prayers according to the Bulgarian Orthodox rules.

There are some family holidays that are of great significance for the Bulgarians. The most important of them are Christening (the Holy Christening), the First Steps (to celebrate the first steps made by the small child), the Birthday, the Nameday, Offering (the offering of an animal or some food to heathen gods and saints to make them show more grace or to thank them for good fortune, health and long life); the Engagement, the Wedding. Inauguration of a New House, Parting (before sending out someone on a long journey). All of these have been preserved for many ages and are a live tradition in Bulgarian families regardless of their religious beliefs.

Very popular folk festivals are held in Koprivshtitsa, Shiroka Luka, Rozhen, Silistra, the Pirin and the Strandzha Mountains, etc. There are folk festivals held in Bourgas and Varna. The music festivals in Sofia, Varna, Slanchev Bryag (Sunny Beach) and Rousse are well known and very prestigious, too.

Some popular theatre festivals with international participation are Theatre in a Suitcase and Apolonia (in the latter are represented all the arts); Love is Folly and Golden Rose are film festivals. There are also wine festivals, Neptune Days along the Black Sea coast, music competitions, Mister and Miss competitions, local art competitions, sports events, and international championships.

The most interesting and unique Bulgarian holidays and customs are the Kukeri Carnivals of the masked koukeri; the martenitzi white and red threads and anthropomorphic pendants exchanged between relatives and friends on Granny Martas Day to wear for health and happiness on the occasion of the coming spring; the customs German and Russalii (Mermaids); the nestinarski dances on red coals on the Day of St. St. Konstantin and Elena; the custom of well wishing by tapping people on the back with a sourvachka - decorated cornel-tree twig on Christmas and New Years Day; the Day of Humour and Satire; Cross Day with an imposing prayer procession and pilgrimage in Krustova Gora (Forest of the Cross) area in the Rodopi Mountains., etc. Many Bulgarians and foreign tourists visit these celebrations, the former celebrate them the way their forefathers did for centuries on end and the latter take pictures and participate in them, too.

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