Bulgarian culture, traditions, habits, music and folklore.|
The Bulgarian lands have been inhabited by various tribes that have developed a rich and varied culture. Learn more about bulgarian traditions, folklore and festivals. Ask your question about Bulgarian habits and culture.
Pages with Questions - CULTURE AND TRADITIONS: 
0. What is Lazaruvane?1. What is The festival of roses2. What is Gergyovden (St. George`s Day)3. How bulgarians celabrate Easter?4. What is Baba Marta?5. What is Trifon Zarezan?6. Whats are the public holidays in Bulgaria7. What is tradition for Nikulden?8. What is Kukeri?9. What is Eniovden?
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Q0: What is Lazaruvane?
A0: It is ancient festival of youth and spring. Young women and girls dressed in national costumes with garlands of flowers on their heads visit all the houses in the village, chanting traditional songs, dancing and wishing health, happiness and fertility. Lazarouvane is at 1 April.
Q1: What is The festival of roses
A1: The Festival of Roses is celebrated during the first half of June in the Valley of Roses. Rose picking starts early, before dawn, while the roses are still glistening with dew. The rose petals are picked before sunrise, otherwise the precious fragrance will be lost. Two thousand petals are needed for a single gram of attar of roses. On the international market seventy per cent of rose attar comes from Bulgaria. It is bought by all the famous perfumeries and is an essential component of the best and most expensive perfumes.
more info >> http://VisitToBulgaria.com/visit/dir.asp?d=0-4-Nature-Valey_of_roses
Q2: What is Gergyovden (St. George`s Day)
A2: There are a lot of rituals and celebrations, concerning St. George's day (Gergiovden). It is celebrated on the 6th of May, although some calendar changes brought by the Orthodox Church (all dates for celebration of the saints have been changed some time ago).
Saint George the Victorious ("Pobedonosez") was cannonized by the Church because of what he has done. He is usually painted on an icon as riding a white horse, holding a lance in his hand, stabbed in the throat of a beast - the dragon ("lamia"). According to the legend, a dragon used to attack the shepherds and their sheep and each time the dragon used to steal a sheep or a lamb. The shepherds were desperate. Then St. George appeared and killed the dragon. Since that day, the shepherds celebrate St. George everyyear and make a "kurban" - slaughter of a lamb (sacrifice for St. George). In every house of a village, a lamb is slaughtered. Before that some flowers are put on the lamb's horns and even a prayer is read. All village gates (doors) are covered with flowers. Early in the morning, people go to the river to wash themselves. On this days, people has to check their weight ("pretegliam se") - it has been the "only" day of the year when people checked their weight. There has also been a tradition that people goto a swing ("lyulka") on that day.
St. George's day (Gergiovden) has been pronounced (some years after the liberation of Bulgaria) as the day of the Army - the Bravery day. The main Army parade used to take place on this day. Recently, this festivity has been restored.
Q3: How bulgarians celabrate Easter?
A3: The bright red colored egg is the symbol of Easter (or Pascha) for the Orthodox Christians all over the world. The eggs are colored on Holy Thursday after the Divine Liturgy. They are big and small and decorated. The bread is called "kolache" or "kozunak". There is no exact English translation, although the Italian "Panettone" (sold under that name in the USA, for example) tastes somewhat similarly. One of these Easter breads is specially decorated with one or more (but an odd number) of red eggs are incrustate into it. This bread is taken to church on Saturday evening when a special sequence of services takes place: Midnight Office, Rush Procession, Matins & Divine Liturgy. These are actually the services of Great and Holy Pascha (Velikden). After the service the clergy blesses the breads and eggs brought by the people and they take them home. Such breads and eggs are presented not only to the Turkish friends (as mentioned in the old-time description below), but especially to the Spiritual parents (God parents, krustnitcite), to the biological parents, and also to other relatives, friends, etc.
The eggs are cracked after the midnight service and during the next days. One egg is cracked on the wall of the church (and this is the first egg eaten after the long Great Fast). The ritual of cracking the eggs takes place before the Easter lunch. Each person selects his/her egg. Then people take turns tapping their egg against the eggs of others, and the person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of good luck.
The traditional Orthodox Paschal greeting is: "Christ is Risen!" The answer is: "Indeed He is Risen". This is the greeting during 40 days after Pascha. Also, These greetings are exchanged during the tapping of the eggs, mentioned above: They are repeated 3 times and the actual tapping is after that.
As you can see the Bulgarian Easter traditions are a variant of Orthodox Easter traditions. There could be some unique Bulgarian touches, but a more serious study is needed to identify them.
Q4: What is Baba Marta?
A4: Before the beginning of March each year Bulgarians present to relatives and friends martenitsa (also known in some Bulgarian regions as martenka) - a double red and white tassel - to bring health and happiness. On the first day of March, people in Bulgaria put the martenitsa-s on their clothes or wrists and wish each other health and happiness with "Chestita baba Marta" - (in English, "Happy Grandma Marta"). "Marta" comes from the word for March (Mart) in Bulgarian. This is an ancient Bulgarian (pagan) tradition (well - nobody knows how old but most probably it's more than one thousand years old) and symbolizes the end of the cold winter and the coming of the spring.
more info >> http://www.b-info.com/places/Bulgaria/BabaMarta/
Q5: What is Trifon Zarezan?
A5: On February 14 Bulgarians celebrate Trifon Zarezan (Vinegrower's Day), an ancient holiday rite inherited from the Thracians. Dressed in their Sunday-best, vinegrowers prune the vines and sprinkle them with wine for a good harvest. Everyone then gathers for a delicious meal. The day is name day of persons with names Trifon.
Q6: Whats are the public holidays in Bulgaria
A6: The offical holidays are:
January 1 - New Year March 3 - National day of the Liberation from Ottoman Domination
Easter - Two days (Sunday and Monday) according to the Orthodox calendar
May 6 - St. George's Day
May 24 - the Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture and Slav Script
September 6 - National Day of Bulgaria's Reunion in the year of 1885
September 22 - Independence Day
November 1 - Day of the Bulgarian Revival Leaders
December 24-26 - Christmas Eve and Christmas
December 31 - New Year's Eve
Q7: What is tradition for Nikulden?
A7: Nikulden is "The Day of Saint Nikolas" - a great winter festival celebrated by all Bulgarians on December Sixth. It is the name day for everyone named Nikola, Nikolay, Kolyo, Nikolina, Neno, Nenka, Nikolina or Nina. The traditional Nikulden meal in each household is based upon a fish dish - “ribnik” - a carp in dough - is traditional for the holiday. Carp is regarded as Nikolas' 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. One half he keeps, the other is left on the table. It is on Saint Nikolas' Day that the table is open to all guests and is not cleared before the day is over. On this holiday - relatives, sponsors and neighbours are invited and a big table is sanctified; the feast day ending up in songs and fun.
more info >> Dir.asp?d=faq-bulgarian_names&q=18#q18
Q8: What is Kukeri?
A8: In the rural (farming) villages of Bulgaria, the "Kukeri" is a important masked ritual, carried forward from the Thracians. They dance in the last days of the winter, just before nature comes back to life. The esoteric meaning in Kukeri is that through a prayer to the god of vegetation together with magical operations there may be obtained a sympathetic influence over nature using the energy of phallic dances performed within orgiastic rites as well as in the final act of plowing and sowing (which is the same through the direct magical connection phallus-plow / vagina-earth / semen-grain) in order to increase fertility. See more about Kukeri!
more info >> http://www.abvg.net/Traditions/Kukeri/index.html
Q9: What is Eniovden?
A9: Enyovden (June 24) is a festival connected with the summer solstice. On Midsummer Day the sun was believed to end its journey towards summer and, after giving three jumps, to turn towards winter. There was a popular belief that the herbs gathered on the eve of Enyovden have stronger healing powers than those gathered on any other day of the year, so female herbalists and sorcerers roamed the woods and meadows that night to collect herbs. According to tradition, on Enjovden children and adults roll in dewy fields and have a bath in rivers and brooks in the woods. The women twine flowers and herbs into a wreath and everybody passes through it three times as a ritual for health and fertility.