Bulgaria like any other state reveres its rich past and national traditions. The country celebrates a large number of holidays both state that determined the course of history (Day of Liberation from Ottoman yoke, the Day of the Bulgarian Army, Unification Day, Bulgaria Independence Day and others.), and religious (Easter, Christmas, etc.), and national, that are a part of a centuries-old culture (Trifon Zarezan, Baba Marta etc).
Bulgarian Official Holidays:
- January 1 - New Year
- March 3 - Day of Liberation from Ottoman yoke
- March-April - Easter
- May 1 - Labor Day
- May 6 - Day of the Bulgarian Army and courage
- May 24 - Day of Bulgarian Culture and Slavonic Literature
- September 6 - Unification Day
- September 22 - Independence Day
- November 1 - Day of People's adherents
- December 24 - Christmas Eve
- 25 and 26 December - Christmas
National holidays in Bulgaria:
- February 14 - Day of Trifon
- March 1 - Baba Marta
- March 8 - International Women's Day
- April 1 - Day of humor
- May 21 - Day of Sts Constantine and Helena
- June 1 - Children's Day
- June 2 - Memorial Day for the freedom of Bulgaria
- September 15 - First Day of School
- August 18 - Feast of St. Ivan Rilski
Christmas - one of the most favorite family holidays of all Bulgarians. On Christmas Eve, Bdni evening, December 24, traditionally Bulgarians cook the pig for the festive Christmas table and traditional meatless dishes: red bell peppers stuffed with beans or rice - "chushki", meatless stuffed cabbage - "Sarmi", layer cake with pumpkin, as well as a special "banitsa" (pie), where the coin and branches of cornel wood are placed for the happiness. Curiously, the number of dishes on the table have to be odd - seven, nine or eleven.
Christmas (in Bulgarian – Kolyada) starts from the first hours after midnight on December 25. Kids knock to the doors of the houses, sing carols "koledarchata" - wishes for happiness and prosperity to the owners of the house, slap their dogwood branches - "survaknitsami", decorated with bells, coins and red threads that year certainly brought luck, and get sweet treats for their efforts. But not only children go caroling, in some regions of Bulgaria young guys (Rhodope) or costumed couples (Sofia) do it. Interestingly, the well-dressed beauty-Christmas tree here is not a mandatory attribute of Christmas. It is dressed up more for the New Year.
Kolyada marks the completion of the post, which lasted 40 days long, so when the holiday starts, tables are full of treats. Here are a festive pig with sauerkraut and stuffed chicken, stuffed cabbage and meat, and traditional kebabs, and turkey, and, of course, excellent Bulgarian wine and rakia.
Another nice feature of the Bulgarian Christmas is that in this day complimentary treats from restaurants and cafes are waiting for all celebrating. To the delight of all citizens and guests in the street it prepares delicious grilled meats and offers a delicious wine that can try everyone!
Bright and colorful holiday begins the evening of December 31 of each year. On this day, friends and family get together, say greetings and wishes of good luck in the New Year and give the gifts. The table must be rich, the more and more varied dishes, the happier will be the year of the owners. Traditionally it bake layer cake "banitsa", cook pork with sauerkraut, meat dishes, baked little idea or a rooster with rice and always decorate the table with fruits and nuts. Bulgarians celebrate this favorite holiday according to the principle: how to celebrate New Year, so spend it. Therefore they decided to dress up in all new, fun until the morning and arrange noisy festive celebrations.
Day of Trifon
Day of Trifon (Trifon Zarezan) - holiday of wine and fun! Trifon is a Christian priest, who was executed for his faith in the city of Nicaea (modern Turkey) in 250. There is a legend that on the day of his execution, all country’s vineyards were attacked by insects and the planters called saint to protect them from this scourge. Now February 14 is a holiday not only for those involved with viticulture, but also gardeners, owners of wine shops, and just fans of this divine drink. To harvest was a good one, certainly need to cut the vine in the day, hence the name of St. Trifon - Zarezan or "undercut".
In the Bulgarian cultural tradition meeting with the spring must be especially colorful and fun, so all Bulgarians at the 1st of March give each other special gifts - "martenitsi" - and they say: "Chastity Baba Marta!" (Happy Baba Marta!). Unusual dolls - "martenitsi" made of red and white twined woolen yarns serve to appease and cheer Baba Marta, which in Bulgarian folklore is a cantankerous old woman, whose mood is changing rapidly, and that is reflected in the changeable weather of March. If Baba Marta smiles, the weather is warm and sunny, and if angry, the cold wind blows, and wet snow can go instead of rain. The red color symbolizes health and fertility, and white - the power, purity and happiness. "Martenitsa" must be tied to the arm, belt or to the top clothes and shoot for 3, 9 or 25 days, and for good and merry next year, Bulgarians hang "martenitsi" on flowering trees - apple, cherry or plum.
Velikden (Easter) - the most important holiday for all Orthodox Christians. In Bulgaria, this day is celebrated in a big way and it is the official day off, as well as the following Monday. Preparation for Easter begins on Thursday with painting eggs and baking "cozonac" - Easter cakes. Bulgarians traditionally choose red for eggs as a symbol of rebirth and the spring sun and bake cake with colored eggs, which must be an odd number.
At midnight between Saturday and Sunday in all churches of Bulgaria bright Easter service begins, after which the Bulgarians greet each other with "Christ is risen! Truly He is risen! ". On Sunday, all waiting for a festive meal, indispensable attributes on which in addition to cakes and eggs are traditional Banjica (layer cake), main dish of lamb, salads, fresh vegetables and red wine.
Day of Sts Constantine and Helena
Equal Apostles Emperor Constantine and his mother Queen Helena are one of the most revered saints in Bulgaria. On this day people go to holy places and healing springs. It is believed that on 21 May the water in the springs has medicinal properties. Traditionally, this day is also associated with the arrival of summer, so it organizes cheerful festivals around the campfire with tasty treats (lamb) and walking on coals.
Day of People's adherents
Adherents in Bulgaria are called restorers of national spirit, which could in a difficult to the country era of Ottoman rule to lay the foundations for the Bulgarian culture and history and made it possible to fight for the country's sovereignty. November 1 is a holiday that combines the spirituality of all Bulgarians, this day is a national holiday and weekend for all students and pupils.