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Unification Day: Bulgarian Traditions and Celebrations

Unification Day marks the date that Bulgaria, after a time of separation under the Treaty of Berlin, experienced unification in 1885.

So when did Bulgaria gain independence? The country had gained independence from the Ottoman Empire just a few years earlier in 1878. Essentially, the Unification of Bulgaria furthered Bulgaria independence, and created a more stable, strengthened nation.

In this article, you’ll learn the history and events surrounding Unification Day, and delve into Bulgarian celebrations of this holiday.

At BulgarianPod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative. So let’s get started!

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1. What is Bulgarian Unification Day?

This day commemorates the unification of Southern Bulgaria, then known as Eastern Rumelia and under Ottoman control, with the independent Principality of Bulgaria in 1885.

The Unification of Bulgaria was an act necessary for the integrity of the Bulgarian state. The 1878 Treaty of Berlin enacted the separation of Bulgaria and the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia. In doing this, the treaty actually tore the national integrity of the Bulgarian people.

The Bulgarians, however, did not accept this separation. They started acting to annex Eastern Rumelia, which, in accordance with the treaty, was an autonomous province under the authority of the Ottoman Empire, to the Principality of Bulgaria.

The Unification of Bulgaria was conducted by the so-called Bulgarian Secret Central Revolutionary Committee (BSCRC). Certain cities in Eastern Rumelia rose in revolt and this led to a military coup d’état on September 6, 1885.

This coup received support from Prince Alexander I—the first Bulgarian prince after the Liberation of Bulgaria. So the Unification was realized on this date, but received international recognition months later.

2. When is Bulgarian Unification Day?

Bulgarian Flag

Each year on 6 September, Bulgarians celebrate Unification Day.

3. Bulgarian Celebrations for Unification Day

People Celebrating

Today, on Unification Day, Bulgarians celebrate with various events in the capital and in Plovdiv—a chief city in the historic events around the Unification—as well as in other cities such as Varna, Burgas, Veliko Tarnovo, Kyustendil, Sliven, and Vidin.

In Sofia, in front of the ossuary mausoleum of Prince Alexander I Battenberg, on Vasil Levski Boulevard, people deliver speeches for the occasion. As with the celebration of the Liberation, on this day too, a solemn changing of the sentry of honor in front of the Presidency takes place.

4. Modern-Day Bulgaria

Which parts of modern-day Bulgaria made up the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia?

Although the name Eastern Rumelia creates the impression that this is the eastern part of Bulgaria, Eastern Rumelia is actually part of modern-day South Bulgaria, stretching between the Balkan Mountains and the Rhodope Mountains.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Unification Day in Bulgaria

A Cannon

Here’s some vocabulary you need to know for Unification Day in Bulgaria!

Bulgarian Romanization English
Ден на Съединението на България Den na Syedinenieto na Bylgariya Unification Day
независимост nezavisimost independence
празнуване praznuvane celebration
Източна Румелия Iztochna Rumeliya Eastern Rumelia
Княжество България Knyazhestvo Balgariya Principality of Bulgaria
Обединена България Obedinena Balgariya Unified Bulgaria
обединение obedinenie unification
военен преврат voenen prevrat military coup
сливане slivane merger
международно признание mezhdunarodno priznanie international recognition

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Bulgarian Unification Day vocabulary list!

How BulgarianPod101 Can Help You Learn About Bulgarian Culture

We hope you enjoyed learning about Bulgarian Unification Day with us! Are there any similar holidays or observations in your own country? Tell us about it in the comments; we always look forward to hearing from you!

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