Bulgarians are known worldwide for their hospitality and kindness. Traditions include national holidays and celebrations in honour of God, national heroes, nature, health, etc. And the holidays are passed on through generations, thus they have been preserved in time. Some traditions are observed and kept in their authentic form, while others have modern aspects.
The official religion in Bulgaria is Orthodox Christianity of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, although there are many Jews and Muslims who live in the country. Major holidays include the National Day, 3 March, Liberation of Bulgaria, Christmas and Easter, which are celebrated with rituals and Bulgarian dishes.
The Bulgarian language is one of the oldest languages of Europe. It has a history of 13 centuries, that influenced the culture of many peoples. In 886, Bulgaria adopted the Glagolitic Alphabet, created by St. Cyril and Methodius in the 60s of the 9th century. The Bulgarian alphabet has 30 letters and there are about 200,000 words in the modern Bulgarian language.
Bulgarian cuisine has some traditional local dishes and other, typical for the Balkan region. Salads of fresh vegetables -
Typical main courses are those of Balkan cuisine such as moussaka, stuffed vegetables, lamb, kavarma – a dish of highly seasoned fried meat. Famous dish is the grill -
Bulgarian traditions have very deep and strong roots. They are passed on from mother to daughter and father to son. Ceremonies are considered sacred, having magical power capable of influencing man and the environment. They restore the balance between good and evil, order and chaos, cultural and wild and resolve conflicts at all levels -
Only in Bulgaria, on 1 March, we will decorate you with traditional martenitsa, which will bestow good health and strength throughout the year. The oldest woman in the house twists white and red wool then trims the other inhabitants, the house, the gate, the domestic and pet animals. White is the symbol of longevity, red banishes disease and brings health and strength. Martenitsa is always made of two twisted threads – red and white, and it is worn for health and strength in the year.
In March, everyone wears Martenitsa, hanging at a visible place, until seeing a stork. Then they hide it under a rock and after some time, out of the insects/animals around people predict about the future. With Martenitsa you can decorate both fruit trees and cattle on the farm -
First, martenitsa, intended to decorate people and livestock, was just of twisted red and white threads. In the course of time, more and more interesting martenitsas are createed -
Only here, around New Year – the sourvakars (children up to 12) will “wish” you health and longevity with fresh cut and decorated cornel sticks. We can see Sourvakars on Christmas Day, which is celebrated on December 25. In the evening, after midnight, festively dressed young men go carolling, led by a married man, called "statenik." They walk to their neighbours’ houses, sing festive carols and say wishes. Sourvakars go in and out of the house with special ritual songs. The Statenik, leaving the house, says a long Christmas blessing. The owners of the house give them bagels, nuts, dried fruits and sausages. For Christmas Eve, the hostess makes an odd number of meatless dishes -
One of the symbols in our country is the ‘kukerstvo’ – a ritual from the pagan past, which chases away evil powers. Men dressed in special costumes and wearing masks participate in this ritual, where they perform special dances. The masks are made of wood. Coloured threads and pieces of cloth, mirrors, shiny sequins, bells and other are glued on them. Some masks have two faces. On one side, the nose is snub and the face is kind, on the other the nose is hunchbacked and the face is sinister. These masks symbolise the good and evil which coexist in the world and are irrevocable. By special magic dances and scary masks, Kukeri games aim to frighten and chase away evil spirits and evil fairies, and to invoke rich harvest next year. The impact of masked kukeri is reinforced by the sound of hanging bells on their costumes. Traditionally, kukeri festivals take place around the New Year, in January and March.
Again, only here you will be able to watch the Fire-
Later, women fire-
However, nowadays, this ritual is not accepted so much as a ritual dance but is mainly performed as an attraction in Bulgarian restaurants.