Hey, guys! How are you?
So, for today’s post I decided to write one more post in the series about Bulgaria. It’s the fourth post and so far it’s been really fun to write these. I’m happy that so many people actually like them and find them interesting.
Today, we’re talking about the culture, the traditions and the customs of Bulgaria. They are quite unique, very old and beautiful. Some of our customs are really old, as old as Bulgaria and even older. Unfortunetely, most of them have died down over the time. But these which have been preserved are really beautiful and meaningful. They are ancient traditions which have helped to preserve the bulgarians during all we, as a nation, have been through our history. These customs and traditions, alongside with the religion of course, have been the support of the people during the hardest times. And I think that we have to preserve these old traditions, even somehow changed, because they and knowing the history are needed to remember what bulgarians have been through and how strong we are.
Traditions are important for every nation. They are the part of the culture of every country that makes it different from the others. And all of them are beautiful. I decided to show you Baulgaria’s culture because I think it’s unique and pretty rich.
We’re starting off with our traditional clothing. As you have seen in my previous posts our traditional clothes are pretty beautiful. They are old and every region of the country has its own style of creating and assambling their clothes. Traditional clothes from different parts of Bulgaria (in Bulgarian: nosiq (no-si-q)).
Mainly the clothes include: a long white shirt, they can be sleevles or with short and long sleeves. The shirts have two models- long shirt and shorter one; aprons (two or only one in different regions it’s different)-they are different in shapes, colors, sizes and decorations; pinafore– mainly in dark colors and very thick and made from wool, they are sleevless but in some places there are pinafores with short sleeves. The pinafores are richly decorated with laces and braids. Sometimes in some regions can be seen colourful headscarfs. They were used back in the past from the women working on the field to protect them from sun. Later, with the Ottoman rule besides for protection, these headscarfs have spread all over the teritorry of Bulgaria. To this assemble are added and traditional shoes. Of course, over the teritorry the clothes may have more or less details and layers depending on the village, the social status and the region.
The men’s clothes are mainly made from the traditional pants, which can be white, black or brown, again depending on the region. Then you have a white shirt, over it there is a red waist belt and some sort of sleevless vest for the warm time and a sort of jacket called aba. In the clothes you have also a traditional wool hat (red, black or brown) and shoes. Again the form and the look of the men’s clothe vary in the different regions and villages. And there may have different details and parts all over Bulgaria.
In general, this is the traditional Bulgarian cloths, or the so called nosiq. They are different and beautiful. Today, they are worn to some festivals and holiday like Easter, Plam Day and others. The biggest “event” on which they have to be worn by every member who’s there, is on a celebration in a village called Jeravna. There every year is held the biggest Bulgarian tradional clothes festival. But more about that in a bit…
Traditions and customs
So, as you saw our traditional clothes are pretty interesting. The customs and traditions are equally interesting. Now, I’ll tell you about one of our most beautiful, interesting and unique customs in our culture.
Iordanov Den (Ior-da-nov den)
Let’s begin with some different holidays. Firstly, I’ll be talking to you about a winter holiday. We celebrate it as a name day, too. It’s celebrated on January 6th on the day of the Twelfth Day or also Epiphany. On this day is done something quite unique. The men in the village or town participate in a custom when a cross is thrown in the ice cold waters of the rivers. The men must swim and compete to find and get the cross. Traditional dances are also performed in the waters of the river from all the men.
This is a very interesting tradition in our culture. It is very ancient, I believe the most ancient of the traditions that have been preserved and saved. It is a pagan ritual. The thing that makes it unique is that the participants in the ritual itself walk on coals and embers barefoot. Sometimes, the most skilled people, dance even when there is still fire somewhere. It is celebrated in June, in the night between 3rd nad 4th June. The tradition is on sunrise this day the people from the village to go to the church. The have to place on the icons red fabric with flowers and coins. With the icons the people wlak around the village till they don’t reach the church of “St. Constantine and Helen”. Then on the evening/afternoon time the participants in the ritual and the priest go to the church. There they breathe from the incense fumes and pray. After that all people gather either in the centre of the villgae or infront of the church. The musicians come and play three special melodies in a specific time. After that it is believed that the participants go into trans and then if they dance on the coals they wouldnt’t feel anything.
The people thta dance don’t feel anything and don’t have any wounds. It is not clear how this happens, tho there are some reaserches. Anyway, the ritual is again part of the Bulgarian cultural heritage.
What you need to know about kukeri is that it’s kind of our version of Halloween…but not exactly. The word “kukeri” comes from the thracian language. The kukeri are men dressed in different costumes with scary masks and big traditional bells on their waists. The costumes are really big and some of them are incredibly heavy. There are also some costumes that are pretty scary but yet somehow beautiful. However, the men in these costumes dance magical dances which purpose is to scare off the evil spirits. The dates of this event change every year. This holiday is celebrated all over Bulgaria according to the customs and traditions of every part of the country. There are dances, singing and again big fires. However, there’s a big international festival that is celebrated in January every year in Pernik. It is one of the biggest festivals that celebrates traditional customs in Europe and in the world. Besides this festival, the kukeri custom is mainly celebrated on the Sins of God’s day, which date changes every year just like Eastern. It is celebrated seven weeks before Eastern on a Sunday. On this day it is customery to ask for forgivness from your elderlies. This holiday is part of the UNESCO cultural heritage of Bulgaria.
One other interesting custom is celebrated on June 24th each year. On this day is Midsummer Day and the day of the Summer solstice. I always find this custom so interesting. In Bulgarian this custom is called Eniovden and is the day of the healing herbs. It’s a very old custom, ancient actually, and it’s believed that its roots lie in Thracian traditions. In the Bulgarian culture on this day right before sunrise the women and girls who are also healers go out in the summer fields and gather healing hers and flowers. Even though this is one custome that is in some form in lots of cultures, I still find it really beautiful custom. The women sing songs, dance and walk around the fields. They have to pick 77 and a half herbs for every diseas. Then from the flowers and herbs they make flower crowns and big flower wreaths. In the autumn and winter these herbs traditionally were used in the past for the making of medicines and potions to heal the sick.
So, guys, which of these you find the most interesting? For me, it’s definitely the tradition nestinarstvo.
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So, this was for today. I wrote about the most interesting customs I thought of. If I think of any others, I may write a second part to this post, if you want. Anyway, hope you liked this post. If you’re reading my blog, thank you, hope you enjoy the content I create. Have a great day!