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Detailed Bulgarian National Anthem Review


Did you know that the oldest national anthem is considered to be the Dutch Wilhelmus, written between 1568 and 1572? Well, compared to it, the Bulgarian national anthem is rather new. In this detailed review prepared by BulgarianPod101 you will find out when it was written, what is the English meaning of its lyrics as well as some intriguing facts regarding its music.

Most anthems are hymns in style and the Bulgarian one is not an exception. In this guide, you will be able to learn what is the national anthem of Bulgaria and how both the lyrics and melody express the love of Bulgarian people for their own fatherland. Moreover, national anthems are something intimate for every nation. By getting acquainted with the Bulgarian anthem lyrics, you will be able to understand the soul of the Bulgarian people, their feelings, emotions, and also their devotion to their homeland. This will help you learn the Bulgarian language, as learning more about the country’s specific culture is an integral part of the language learning process.

Bulgarian National Anthem Review

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Bulgarian Table of Contents
  1. Bulgarian National Anthem Lyrics in English
  2. Bulgarian National Anthem History
  3. List of Occasions When The Bulgarian National Anthem is Sung
  4. Prohibitions Related to the Bulgarian National Anthem
  5. How BulgarianPod101 Can Help You Learn Bulgarian

1. Bulgarian National Anthem Lyrics in English

Here are the Bulgarian national anthem’s lyrics, presented with the proper pronunciation and their English translation.

Bulgarian textPronunciationEnglish translation
Горда Стара планина,
до ней Дунава синей,
слънце Тракия огрява,
над Пирина пламеней.

(Родино) Мила Родино,
ти си земен рай!
Твойта хубост, твойта прелест,
ах, те нямат край!
Gorda Stara planina, 
do ney Dunava siney, 
slantse Trakiya ogryava, 
nad Pirina plameney.

(Rodino) Mila Rodino, 
ti si zemen ray! 
Tvoyta hubost, tvoyta prelest, 
ah, te nyamat kray!
Proud Stara Planina, 
before it the Danube is blue,
the sun shines on Thrace, 
over Pirin it flames. 

(Motherland) Dear Motherland, 
you are an earthly paradise! 
Your beauty, your charm, 
oh, they have no end! 

Let’s consider some specific details related to this hymn.

Stara Planina Mountain
  • Стара планина (Stara planina) Stara Planina is the longest and the largest mountain in Bulgaria.
  • Дунав (Dunav) The Danube is the second longest river in Europe and separates the territory of Bulgaria and Romania before it flows into the Black Sea. 
  • Тракия (Trakiya) Thrace is a historical and geographical area in Southeastern Europe, which covers southern Bulgaria. 
  • Пирин (Pirin) Pirin is a mountain in southwestern Bulgaria, part of the Rila-Rhodope mountain massif, with the highest peak Vihren (2914.3 m).
    ➜ In this lesson, you can learn about Rila Mountain Range as part of the top 10 Bulgarian tourist destinations.

2. Bulgarian National Anthem History

Bulgarian anthem lyrics and music were written in 1885 by Tsvetan Radoslavov, who composed it on the way to the battlefield for the Serbo-Bulgarian War.

But let’s start with some pre-history of the current anthem adoption.

Since the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878 up until 1964, Bulgaria has changed its national anthem many times. During the Third Bulgarian Kingdom, the “Shumi Maritsa” song was chosen as the national anthem. The lyrics were written by Nikola Zhivkov in 1876 with the final edit by the famous Bulgarian writer and poet Ivan Vazov in 1912, while its melody derived from a German folk song. The main theme of this anthem is the fight against the Ottoman rulers and the liberation of the country. It was last performed on January 1, 1947. 

Between 1947 and 1950, the march “Our Republic, hello!” became a Bulgarian national anthem. In 1949, three famous Bulgarian poets, Elisaveta Bagryana, Nikola Furnadzhiev, and Mladen Isaev, started to write the verses of a new anthem with the title “Dear Bulgaria.” The main aim was to create an anthem that emphasized the fight for freedom and respect for all those who gave their lives for it. They were able to complete this task in 1950, and the new anthem was officially performed in 1951. However, ten years later, due to the closeness of the lyrics and melody to the Soviet anthem, the poet Georgi Jagarov proposed the idea that the song “Dear Motherland” (Mila Rodino) become the new anthem of Bulgaria. 

In 1964, a commission was formed to discuss the approval of Mila Rodino as the Bulgarian national anthem. The composer Petko Staynov opposed the decision claiming that the melody was taken from a Jewish song. After expressing his opinion, Petko Staynov was removed from the commission and Mila Rodino became the national anthem.

Another great Bulgarian composer, Dobri Hristov, also mentioned that the melody is borrowed from a Jewish song. He also specified that in the Bulgarian song memory there are hundreds of melodies that are borrowed from other nations and have become an integral part of the Bulgarian musical heritage.

Bulgarian house from the Renaissance

The original lyrics of the song Mila Rodino looked like this:

Bulgarian textPronunciationEnglish translation
1.Горда Стара планина,
до ней север се синей
Слънце Витош позлатява,
към Цариград се белей

Мила Родино,
ти си земен рай!
Твойта хубост, твойта прелест,
ах, те нямат край!
Хайде братя българи,
към Балкана да вървим.
Там се готви бой юнашки,
за свобода, правдини.

2.Паднаха борци безчет,за народа наш любим.Майко, дай ни мъжка сила,пътя им да продължим!

3.Дружно братя българи,
с нас Москва е в мир и бой!
Партия велика води,
нашият победен строй.
Gorda Stara planina, 
do ney sever se siney
Slantse Vitosh pozlatyava, 
kam Tsarigrad se beley

Mila Rodino, 
ti si zemen ray! 
Tvoyta hubost, tvoyta prelest, 
ah, te nyamat kray!
Hayde bratya balgari, 
kam Balkana da varvim. 
Tam se gotvi boy yunashki, 
za svoboda, pravdini.

Padnaha bortsi bezchet, 
za naroda nash lyubim. 
Mayko, day ni mazhka sila, 
patya im da prodalzhim!

3.Druzhno bratya balgari, 
s nas Moskva e v mir i boy!
Partiya velika vodi, 
nashiyat pobeden stroy.
Proud Stara Planina, 
Next to it the North is blue,
the sun shines on Vitosha, 
to Constantinople it flames. 

Dear Motherland, 
you are an earthly paradise! 
Your beauty, your charm, 
oh, they have no end! 
Come on, Bulgarian brothers, 
go to the Balkans.
A heroic battle is being prepared
there, for freedom, for justice. 

Countless fighters fell 
for our beloved people. 
Mother, give us masculine strength,
to continue their path! 

3. Come together, Bulgarian brothers, 
Moscow is with us in peace and war! 
A great party is leading
our victorious lines. 

In these lyrics Vitosha Mountain is mentioned along with Constantinople which later were removed. Over the years the anthem’s lyrics were changed multiple times until 1990 when the current version of the anthem was adopted and stayed unchanged until now.

    ➜ You can learn more details about Vitosha mountain located next to the Bulgarian capital in this lesson, prepared by BulgarianPod101.

3. List of Occasions When The Bulgarian National Anthem is Sung

There are specific occasions when the National Anthem is performed. This list will help you learn where you can expect to hear the Bulgarian national anthem.

    ❖ During the celebration of the Bulgarian Liberation Day on March 3.
    ❖ Оn some Bulgarian national holidays, like The Day of Courage and the Bulgarian Army on May 6 or the New Year Celebration. Bulgarians start each new year with the Bulgarian national anthem instrumental followed by the Danube round dance.
    ❖ During the celebration of important historical figures like the Hristo Botev Day (and the Fighters for Freedom and Independence of Bulgaria) on June 2, the Vasil Levski Commemoration Day on February 19, etc.
    ❖ During the flag raising ceremonies of the Republic of Bulgaria.
    ❖ During the state and official visits as well as diplomatic or military ceremonies.
    ❖ Other official events of national importance at the initiative of state bodies.

The Day of Courage and the Bulgarian Army Is on May 6

The full version of the anthem “Mila Rodino”, which includes the first verse once and the chorus repeated twice, is performed during all these events. The short version of the national anthem is the verse and chorus performed once. 

The short version of the Bulgarian national anthem can be performed on the following occasions: at cultural and sports events, and on occasions such as the opening of the school year.

The anthem of the Republic of Bulgaria can be performed only once a day, at the ceremonies described above.

4. Prohibitions Related to the Bulgarian National Anthem

Prohibitions Related to the Bulgarian National Anthem

An interesting fact is that there are some prohibitions on the use of the Bulgarian national anthem.

The anthem may not be used in advertising, except for national campaigns undertaken by the state authorities. The anthem may not be used as part of another melody or song. It is prohibited to be performed in remixed versions with lyrics other than legally established text or by means of musical instruments that create a humorous sound, with pauses, interruptions or extensions of the tones being played. It is prohibited to change the original sound of the anthems.

5. How BulgarianPod101 Can Help You Learn Bulgarian

This detailed Bulgarian national anthem review prepared by BulgarianPod101 is created to help you learn more about the most important hymn in the country – its anthem. The process of choosing this Bulgarian anthem says a lot about Bulgarian culture and way of life during the years after the Liberation from the Ottoman Empire in 1878. The more you know about the country, the easier it will be for you to understand the ethnopsychology of its people, as their language includes specific features of their culture.

Bulgarian language is not easy to study on your own and if you need professional guidance for this, you can find it in the  MyTeacher section. Choose a professional native Bulgarian teacher who is not only able to teach Bulgarian but also will make the learning process easier by making his or her Bulgarian online lessons funny and easy to remember. 

Now that you know the story behind the Bulgarian national anthem, we would be happy to receive your feedback about what impressed you the most about it, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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A Detailed Overview of Bulgarian Culture and Traditions


Just like every other country in the world, Bulgaria has a very specific culture influenced by its past and origins. The history of Bulgaria is fascinating and sheds some light on the various aspects of Bulgarian culture and customs, from the way Bulgarians live to their mindset and common character traits. Learners of the Bulgarian language can greatly benefit from knowing more about this country, which some consider to be “The Cradle of Civilization.”

BulgarianPod101 invites you to join us on this intriguing adventure through the culture of Bulgaria. Who knows, maybe this special overview of Bulgarian culture will prompt you to come and experience everything for yourself!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Bulgarian Table of Contents
  1. How Bulgarian History Has Influenced Our Culture
  2. Philosophies and Religions
  3. Family & Work
  4. Art
  5. The Hospitality of Bulgarian People
  6. Traditional Bulgarian Holidays
  7. Cultural Taboos
  8. How BulgarianPod101 Can Help You Learn Bulgarian

1. How Bulgarian History Has Influenced Our Culture

Bulgaria boasts a long history that has influenced its folklore and ancient rituals, some of which are still preserved to this day. The nation’s religious background has also shaped the character, traditions, and cuisine of the Bulgarian people. Let’s explore the relationship between Bulgarian history and culture in more detail.

What makes Bulgaria special?

Bulgaria is a country located on the Black Sea’s western shore. This land is full of riches and has a very diverse landscape. Here you will find fruitful plains, valleys, and lowlands where lush rivers flow, as well as multiple seaside summer resorts, rural villages, ancient settlements, and high mountains and mountain ranges. The territory of Bulgaria includes all types of relief, and the diversity of its natural resources attracts millions of tourists every year.

Bulgaria is definitely a place worth visiting at least once in a lifetime. Just imagine: spending a nice summer vacation at the beach or by a swimming pool…taking advantage of healing thermal springs and mud baths…exploring artifacts left by the ancient Thracians, Romans, Greeks, and Proto-Bulgarians…or even enjoying mountain resorts that are open to tourists year-round. Yes, please!

A Bulgarian Flag Blowing in the Wind with a Mountain in the Background

History of Bulgaria

According to ancient historical reports, Bulgarian territory was once inhabited by different tribes who built settlements here as early as 500 BC. They were united by the Odrysian King Teres and later conquered by Alexander the Great. Then, in 46 AD, the Roman Empire took possession of the land, followed by the Byzantine Empire in the fifth century.

The First Bulgarian Empire began in 681 when a treaty with Byzantium was concluded. The first Bulgarian capital was the city of Pliska, and the country was ruled by Khans, who expanded the nation’s territory and strength.

A noble moment in early Bulgarian history was the Bulgarian people’s baptism in the Christian faith. Prior to this, Bulgarians believed in various pagan gods. The Christianization of Bulgaria began in 864, thanks to Khan Boris (who then received the title Knyaz). During the reign of his son Simeon the Great, Bulgaria entered its Golden Age and expanded its territory to reach three seas: the Aegean Sea, the Adriatic Sea, and the Black Sea.

The First Bulgarian Empire ended in 1018 when the Byzantine conquered the entire territory. However, in 1185 the Asen dynasty built the Second Bulgarian Empire after a successful revolt. Unfortunately, this empire also fell, being conquered by the Ottoman Empire in the fourteenth century.

The Ottoman Yoke continued for five centuries, during which there were many unsuccessful revolts. The most popular of them was the 1876 April Uprising, which was severely suppressed by the Ottomans; this resulted in thousands of victims from the Bulgarian population. One year later, in 1877, Russia declared a war against the Ottomans and helped Bulgarians liberate their land. This is how the Third Bulgarian State was established in 1878.

In 1946, Bulgaria became a communist republic. The communist regime remained until late 1989 and was followed by a democracy. This was when Bulgaria opened to the entire world. In the thirty years that followed, Bulgarian culture, customs, art, and heritage were promoted and gained worldwide fame. In 2004, Bulgaria joined NATO; in 2007, it became a European Union member.

    → To gain even more insight into Bulgarian history and culture, you can head over to our lesson on Historical Figures!

Influence on Bulgarian culture

Bulgarian culture and traditions have been greatly influenced by those of the Thracians, Slavs, and Bulgars. After Bulgaria’s Christianization, the Eastern Orthodox Church also began to shape the culture, though numerous ancient customs were preserved and are now recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Examples include the Thracian barefoot ember dancing known as Nestinarstvo, the dance of the Kukeri, Bulgarian Folklore, and Martenitsa

The Bulgarian folkloric tradition is so strong that it has influenced many fields, including art, music, literature, celebrations, and even the daily lives of Bulgarians in certain territories of the country.

Bulgarian Martenitsa
    → Are you interested in learning more about the History of the Bulgarian Language? Then make sure you check out our relevant lesson to gain more insight on the topic.

2. Philosophies and Religions

Religion plays an important role in society, which makes it a key component in understanding Bulgarian culture. In this section, we’ll look at the different ethnic groups in Bulgaria, the prominent religions of the past, and what religion looks like in modern Bulgaria.

Ethnic groups in Bulgaria

Obviously, the majority of Bulgaria’s population consists of Bulgarians, who make up 76.9% of the total population. Turkish people make up another 8% and Romani 4.4%. These are the main ethnic groups in the country. However, you can find many other ethnic groups in different parts of the country, which amount in total to more than 10% of the population. These include Greeks, Russians, Armenians, Ukrainians, Vlachs, etc.

It is interesting to note that in recent years, morе and more foreigners from Western Europe are settling in the rural areas of Bulgaria. They prefer to live in this country, or to spend long summer vacations here.

Before moving on, let’s look at the population’s age demographics:

15 to 249.43%
25 to 4043.12%
55 to 6413.3%

Religions in the past

As we mentioned earlier, ancient Bulgars practiced paganism. They believed in the pagan god Tangra, which is why their religion was called Tengrism. The Slavs and the Thracians who also inhabited this land worshipped different pagan gods, which created a sort of separation between the groups. This separation made them unable to withstand attacks from their surrounding enemies in the face of Byzantium. 

One of the main reasons Khan Boris I decided to introduce Christianity into the state was to unite these different tribes into one strong nation. And he succeeded. The unity created by this new religion caused the Byzantine Empire and other great nations to recognize Bulgaria as a kingdom.

Bulgaria Converts to Christianity

Religions in Bulgaria today

The main religion in Bulgaria is still Eastern Orthodox Christianity, to which about 60% of the population adheres. Some of the minorities in the country, such as Russians, Romanians, Greeks, Ukrainians, and Armenians also practice this religion. The Bulgarian Calendar is rich in Orthodox holidays, some of which we’ll discuss later in this lesson.

Islam is Bulgaria’s second largest religion with about 8% of the total population identifying as Muslim. This portion of the population mainly consists of Turkish people, Pomaks, and Roma. There are many villages and cities in Bulgaria with mosques.

Only 0.8% of the Bulgarian population identifies as Catholic; 0.9% (and the number is growing) are Protestants. It is interesting to note that after communism ended, the membership of various Protestant churches in Bulgaria tripled in a matter of ten years. This was due to the foreign missionaries who converted many atheists and Muslims to Christianity. Today, about 10% of Bulgarians are declared atheists or agnostics.

3. Family & Work

In any country, work and family life play significant roles in society. Let’s explore the different facets of work and family in Bulgaria!

Family Values

The most popular family structure in Bulgaria is the nuclear family. Couples normally have one or two children, and it’s rare to see a Bulgarian family with more than three children (with the exception of Roma families). 

During the years of communism, family was among the most important values in Bulgaria. In those times, 95% of women believed that a full and satisfying life could be obtained only by having a family. Before democracy was declared in 1989, there were almost no divorces in the country; the few that did happen were looked upon with resentment by society. Things have changed since the start of our democracy and the number of divorces has reached about 10,000 per year. 

Western culture has significantly influenced Bulgarian society. According to some sociologists, this has led to the degradation of family values and has made cohabitation a popular choice. In 2011, about 82% of young people aged between 20 and 30 preferred to stay unmarried.

Another change in society is reflected in the relationship between younger and older generations. In the past, elders were widely respected and their children took care of them. Nowadays, the intense speed of our daily routines, as well as the deviation from our traditional family values, have made more and more people rely on hospices and homes to take care of their elderly parents.

Elderly People in Bulgaria

Working in Bulgaria

There has been a recent increase in the number of working people over 45 years of age in Bulgaria, which is a logical consequence of the nation’s aging demographics. Another interesting fact about Bulgarian work culture is that more and more Bulgarians who emigrated to work in foreign countries are returning to Bulgaria. While Bulgaria still has a low salary standard compared to other European countries, the salary is gradually increasing in some sectors, such as IT and outsourcing. This is a motivating factor for job seekers. 

The bigger the city, the more jobs there are available. This means that it is more difficult for people who live in the countryside to find a job. Usually, they cultivate the land and raise livestock to produce and sell food.

Rural Areas in Bulgaria

Bulgaria as an agricultural country

Agriculture is well-developed in Bulgaria and the country is an exporter of many kinds of agricultural products. These include different kinds of cereals, technical crops, vegetables, fruits, viticulture, herbs, honey, and even edible mushrooms. The most common cereals include wheat, barley, oats, and rye. Other popular crops include beans, rice, corn, lentils, and alfalfa. 

Bulgaria is one of the biggest producers of rose oil and lavender oil in the world. The country is also famous for its tasty and quality dessert and wine grapes. The country’s climate is favorable for an abundance of vegetables and fruits, such as: 

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Cherries
  • Sour cherries
  • Watermelons
  • Melons 
  • All kinds of berries

As for livestock, Bulgarians grow sheep, goats, cattle, buffalo, turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, horses, and so on. As a consequence, over 250 thousand tons of milk, 211 thousand tons of meat, and 1.2 million eggs are produced yearly.

4. Art

Bulgarians have contributed to the world’s art development through their great athletes, musicians, opera singers, writers, actors, artists, sculptors, and other personalities who have dedicated their lives to art. Let’s look at three areas of Bulgarian art for which the country is especially famous.

Traditional Bulgarian music

Bulgarian folk music is unique not only because of the special folk instruments used to perform it, but also because of its irregular rhythms, complex harmonies, and the difficulty of the performance. In previous centuries, Bulgarians lived mainly in rural areas, where this was the most popular type of music they created and listened to. Many of the songs and melodies have been passed down from generation to generation until today. 

Among the most common musical instruments used in Bulgarian folk music are: 

  • the gaida (a goatling- or lamb-skin bagpipe)
  • the kaval (an end-blown flute)
  • the gadulka (a bowed stringed instrument)
  • the tupan (а large double-headed drum)
  • the tambura (similar to the mandolin)

There are some Bulgarian villages and small towns that have special schools or clubs to teach children and young people how to play these instruments.

One of the most famous Bulgarian folk singers is Valya Balkanska, who was awarded with the highest Bulgarian award “Orden Stara Planina” in 2002. The song Izlel ye Delyo Haydutin, which she performed in 1977, was selected as part of the Golden Record located aboard the two identical spacecraft Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. It is a part of a sound message that the Earth is sending to potential civilizations in the universe. You can hear this popular song here.

Popular sports

Many Bulgarians have gained worldwide fame thanks to their incredible achievements in the world of sports.

Let’s start with Hristo Stoichkov, who is the best-known Bulgarian soccer player of all time. His achievements were so great that many foreigners started to associate Bulgaria with his name. Other popular soccer players of Bulgaria are Dimitar Berbatov and the deceased Georgi Asparuhov, known as Gundi.


Among the most popular Bulgarian boxers are Kubrat Pulev and the late Dan Kolov. Kolov was the first European freestyle wrestling champion from Bulgaria and a mixed martial artist who lived most of his life in the USA.

Another famous name is that of the Bulgarian grandmaster Veselin Topalov, who won the World Chess Championship in 2005 and 2006. Fans of tennis will also be familiar with the name Grigor Dimitrov. Finally, we should mention Stefka Kostadinova, whose World Record of a 209-centimeter high jump in 1987 still remains unbeaten.

Bulgarian literature

There are many notable Bulgarian writers. We’ll start by mentioning Paisiy Hilendarski, who wrote Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya in 1762, which was the first written report of Bulgarian history up to that time. Some of the more popular writers include Ivan Vazov with his famous novel Under The Yoke, Emiliyan Stanev with The Peach Thief, and Nikolay Haytov, whose book Wild Stories is included in the Historical Collection of UNESCO.

5. The Hospitality of Bulgarian People

Bulgaria, among other Balkan nations, is famous for its hospitality. Sometimes, Bulgarians еven invite strangers and random visitors for lunch or dinner. However, this kind of hospitality is seen less in the cities and more in rural villages like Ribaritsa (the longest Bulgarian village in Stara Planina), Delchevo (a beautiful village in Pirin, where instead of “Hello,” old people greet with “God bless you”), Leshten (with its nineteenth-century architectural style), Kovachevitsa, and Ognyanovo (where a popular thermal spring is located).

A Bulgarian Countryside Village

People who offer you hospitality might be offended if you don’t accept their invitation, so it is polite to accept it. Once you enter their home, you are considered a friend. Bulgarians can be very curious about how foreigners live, so be prepared to answer their multiple questions about your country. You can also expect them to reciprocate: most Bulgarians are very garrulous, so you’ll be able to learn many things about Bulgaria in your conversation with them.

Bulgarians who invite foreigners are usually happy to prepare traditional Bulgarian food for them to sample. Common dishes include tarator, banitsa, guvech, and shkembe chorba. This would be a great chance to try authentic Bulgarian dishes cooked by a skilled homemaker who would probably be happy to share the recipes with you—and even give you tips on how to cook them properly.

6. Traditional Bulgarian Holidays

Knowing about the most popular Bulgarian holidays will allow you to plan your visit for a period when the most important cultural events in Bulgaria are happening. Taking part in the festive atmosphere will help you experience the culture, personality, and history of this country better. However, be aware that some restaurants and shops, and most public institutions, are closed during the official holidays.

Liberation Day (March 3)

This day celebrates the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878 from the Ottoman Rule. This took place after the Russian Empire won the last Russian-Turkish War. From that day on, Bulgaria was a free country again.

St. George’s Day (May 6)

May 6 is associated with the Christian martyr St. George, who killed the dragon. In Bulgaria, it is also celebrated as the day of the Bulgarian Army and bravery. To celebrate, Bulgarians usually prepare a whole lamb as a traditional meal for the entire family. Moreover, the name George (Георги) is very common in Bulgaria and those with this name celebrate their name day on May 6 as well.

Day of the Bulgarian Alphabet (May 24)

The alphabet created by the Slavonic brothers Cyril and Methodius is called Glagolitsa. It was later simplified by their students, who named the new alphabet after Cyril: Cyrillic alphabet. On May 24, all students and teachers in Bulgaria have a special celebration.


This is among the most important religious holidays in Bulgaria, celebrating the Resurrection of Christ. If you are in the country during this period, your Bulgarian friends will probably give you a painted hard-boiled egg and a special sweet Easter bread called kozunak.

Kozunak and  Painted Eggs
    → In this article, you can learn more about another Bulgarian holiday related to Easter: Tsvetnitsa.

Christmas Eve (December 24)

This is another religious holiday in Bulgaria, celebrating the birth of Christ on Earth. According to Bulgarian traditions for this holiday, we only eat lean dishes on Christmas Eve, and there should be a specific number of dishes: 7, 9, or 11/12 different kinds. A festive bread or banitsa should be made with a coin hidden inside; whoever finds the coin in his piece is considered lucky and will have prosperity and health in the next year.

7. Cultural Taboos

Bulgarians accept people of different countries, social levels, professions, etc. They are generally open to foreigners, which is why the country is home to so many minorities from many different countries. But there are still a couple of things to consider in order to be polite while visiting someone’s house.

When you’re invited to be a guest in someone’s house, it is considered impolite to enter without taking off your shoes. Even Bulgarians take off their shoes when entering the home, even if the housewife insists that they don’t have to do that. This is a sign of respect toward the housewife’s work. She will probably offer you slippers, but some Bulgarians prefer to take their own slippers from home when visiting friends, so you could opt to do the same. It is also impolite to refuse any food or drink offered to you by the host.

8. How BulgarianPod101 Can Help You Learn Bulgarian

There are certainly many fascinating aspects of Bulgarian culture, and we hope that our brief overview has inspired you to continue learning. There is so much more for you to discover, and the more you know Bulgaria, the more effective and immersive your language studies will be.

If you would like to continue studying the Bulgarian language with a personal teacher, you can choose one from MyTeacher by creating a Premium PLUS account. Native Bulgarian linguists will not only lead you through the grammar points, but will also share with you more interesting facts about Bulgarian history and culture. 

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there’s anything we missed in this lesson. Is there anything you still want to know about Bulgarian culture? We’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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A Stepping Stone to Freedom: Liberation Day in Bulgaria

Independence did not come easily for Bulgaria. The nation only gained its freedom after hundreds of years of oppression, and the process was a lengthy and trying one. One event in particular helped propel the nation toward its goal: the nation’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire in 1878. 

In this article, you’ll learn all about Bulgarian Liberation Day (also known as Bulgaria’s Day of Liberation from Ottoman Domination) and how it’s celebrated today. Let’s get started!

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1. What is Liberation Day?

The Bulgarian Flag Waving Against a White Background

Bulgaria’s struggle for independence goes way back, beginning in the fourteenth century when the Ottomans began organizing attacks on various cities within the country. The Ottomans eventually gained control of the Bulgarian territory, forming what is now referred to as the Ottoman Yoke. Beginning in 1762, the Bulgarian Revival fought back against the Ottoman Rule. Still, the Ottoman Yoke lasted for roughly 500 years—until one of Bulgaria’s most defining moments occurred on March 3, 1878. 

This was the date when the Liberation of Bulgaria took effect, following the signing of the Treaty of San Stefano, or Санстефански мирен договор (Sanstefanski miren dogovor). The treaty was signed in order to end the Russian-Turkish war. However, even after this momentous occasion, Bulgaria was considered a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire and thus did not have full freedom as a nation. The signing of this treaty is celebrated, however, because it marked the beginning of Bulgaria’s eventual rise to complete freedom and autonomy. 

A few months later, on July 13, 1878, another treaty was signed: the Берлински договор (Berlinski dogovor), or Treaty of Berlin. This treaty gave Bulgaria further autonomy, though the nation would not gain full independence until 1908. 

In Bulgaria, Liberation Day is viewed as one of the most important holidays, marking a key event in the nation’s history. The holiday has been celebrated unofficially since 1880 (when it was called Day of the Emperor Alexander II’s Assassination and the Conclusion of the San Stefano Peace Treaty—yes, it’s a mouthful). In 1888, it was shortened to Liberation Day of Bulgaria, and two years later was given official holiday status.

2. Traditions for Bulgarian Liberation Day

A Sketch of the Bulgarian Liberation Day Ceremony

On National Liberation Day, Bulgarian workers can look forward to a full day off work. Due to the significance of the holiday, there’s an array of activities and celebrations throughout the nation, many of which vary by city. For example, in cities where historical battles were held, there may be larger observances or activities that are more focused on that specific battle. Wherever you go, the Bulgarian flag will be hoisted high!

There are several speeches, parades, concerts, and other cultural celebrations put on by the government, some of which are attended by the Bulgarian President and city mayors, as well as other government officials. One of the most popular events is the nighttime fireworks show at the National Assembly Square. 

Numerous lives were lost in Bulgaria’s long fight for freedom, so there are wreath layings at various memorials throughout the nation. People may also leave flowers or cards to show respect for those who gave their lives. Because other nations aided in Bulgaria’s liberation, the focus is not only on Bulgarian heroes, but on those of Russia, Finland, and Romania. (In fact, the Russian President often takes part in the Liberation Day observances.)

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church hosts a liturgy and prayer event, commemorating the events leading up to the nation’s liberation. There are also masses that take place. 

Two key locations for this holiday are the Shipka Monument and Shipka Pass. The latter is where a major battle took place, and people gather there in large groups in memory of it. 

To conclude, here’s a rather unique tradition: On the Day of Liberation, Bulgarian men swim across the Danube River to Romania’s coast. This is because Svishtov (located near the Romanian border) was the first city to be liberated.

3. Another Key Event in Bulgarian History

While the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878 was a major turning point in the right direction, there was another event that occurred a few years later that aided Bulgaria on its road to freedom.

This event was the joining of Източна Румелия (Iztochna Rumeliya), or Eastern Rumelia (one of the three parts into which Bulgaria was divided), with liberated Bulgaria. It occurred in 1885, and created yet another stepping stone toward the nation’s independence. To commemorate this event, Bulgarians celebrate Unification Day each year. 

4. Key Bulgarian Vocabulary for Liberation Day

Several Old Papers with a Red Wax Stamp

Ready to stretch your Bulgarian vocabulary skills and expand your mental word bank? Then study up on these useful phrases and be sure to practice their pronunciation on our Liberation Day vocabulary list! 

Ден на Освобождението на България от турско робство / noun, masculine
Den na Osvobojdenieto na Bylgariya ot tursko robstvo
Liberation Day

Източна Румелия / noun, feminine
Iztochna Rumeliya
Eastern Rumelia

Санстефански мирен договор / noun, masculine
Sanstefanski miren dogovor
Treaty of San Stefano

Берлински договор / noun, masculine
Berlinski dogovor
Treaty of Berlin

Подписвам договор / phrase
Podpisvam dogovor
Sign a treaty

Възстановяване на българската държавност / phrase, neutral
Vazstanovyavane na balgarskata darzhavnost
Recovery of the Bulgarian state

Княжество България / noun, neutral
Knyazhestvo Balgariya
Principality of Bulgaria

Национален празник / noun, masculine
Natsionalen praznik
National holiday

Церемония / noun, feminine

Празнуване / noun, neutral

Final Thoughts 

Bulgaria’s Day of Liberation marks one of a few key events in the nation’s centuries-long struggle for autonomy and independence. We hope that learning about this holiday and its background has given you a craving for even more knowledge on Bulgarian culture and holidays! 

To continue your Bulgarian studies, we recommend you check out the following pages on BulgarianPod101.com: 

If you sample our content and like what you find, remember that you can create your free lifetime account at any time! This will give you access to tons of lessons for learners at every level, our flagship podcast, spaced repetition flashcards, and much more! 

It’s our goal to make learning Bulgarian both fun and effective, so what are you waiting for? 

Before you go: Does your nation have a holiday similar to Liberation Day? If so, how do you celebrate?

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Tsvetnitsa: Celebrating Palm Sunday in Bulgaria

Palm Sunday in Bulgaria, also called Tsvetnitsa or Vrabnitsa, is a major Christian celebration with many fascinating traditions. In this article, you’ll learn about the significance of Palm Sunday for believers, look at how Bulgarians celebrate it, and gain some relevant Bulgarian vocabulary.

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Palm Sunday?

On Palm Sunday, Christians celebrate Влизането на Иисус в Йерусалим (Vlizaneto na Iisus v Yerusalim), or “Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.” According to the Bible, Jesus entered Jerusalem exactly one week before his Resurrection. Upon Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, a crowd of believers greeted him and threw palm sprigs at his feet.

On Palm Sunday, Bulgarians also celebrate the name day for anyone with a Име на цвете (Ime na tsvete), or “flower-related name.” There are many Bulgarian names related to flowers and plants: Tsvetan, Tsvetomir, Tsvetelina, Bozhura, Violeta, Nevena, Varban, Liliya, Zdravko, Yavor, Yasen, Iva, and many others.

2. When is Palm Sunday in Bulgaria?


The Palm Sunday date varies each year, along with the dates of Lent and Easter. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date in Bulgaria for the next ten years:

  • 2020: April 12
  • 2021: April 25
  • 2022: April 17
  • 2023: April 9
  • 2024: April 28
  • 2025: April 13
  • 2026: April 5
  • 2027: April 25
  • 2028: April 9
  • 2029: April 1

3. How is Palm Sunday Celebrated?

Various Easter Decorations

In Bulgaria, Palm Sunday is largely associated with plants, trees, and flowers, in addition to its religious connotation. The two elements often go hand-in-hand in Bulgarian traditions. For example, because people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with palm sprigs, people go to church with flowers or other plants on Palm Sunday. These flowers are then blessed and consecrated.

The most popular of these plants is the sprig of върба (varba), or “willow.” This is where Palm Sunday gets its other name, Vrabnitsa. After the willow sprigs have been blessed, worshipers take them home as Palm Sunday decorations for their front door or elsewhere in the home. Some Bulgarians believe that the willow sprigs protect their home from evil forces and disease, and bring health and happiness. Tsvetnitsa is a holiday of flowers, revival, and youth.

4. Kumichene

Do you know what unique Bulgarian custom is carried out on Palm Sunday?

This popular custom in Bulgaria is called kumichene. This is when girls gather by the river, carrying chaplets (a wreath worn on the head) and ceremonial bracelets called puppet. The girls float these chaplets and beads down the river and watch to see whose chaplet will be first.

5. Essential Palm Sunday Vocabulary

The Word Rosemary as a Name

Are you ready to review some of the Bulgarian vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for Palm Sunday!

  • Цвете (Tsvete) — “Flower”
  • Дърво (Dyrvo) — “Tree”
  • Великден (Velikden) — “Easter”
  • Върбова клонка (Varbova klonka) — “Palm leaf”
  • Имен ден (Imen den) — “Name day”
  • Влизането на Иисус в Йерусалим (Vlizaneto na Iisus v Yerusalim) — “Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem”
  • Име на цвете (Ime na tsvete) — “Flower-related name”
  • Върба (Varba) — “Willow”
  • Цветница (Tsvetnitsa) — “Tsvetnitsa”
  • Връбница (Vrabnitsa) — “Vrabnitsa”

To hear the pronunciation of each word and phrase, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Bulgarian Palm Sunday vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about Palm Sunday in Bulgaria with us, and that you gained some valuable knowledge about Bulgarian traditions.

Do you celebrate Palm Sunday in your country? If so, are your traditions similar or quite different from those in Bulgaria? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

If you’re fascinated with Bulgarian culture and can’t get enough, we recommend that you check out the following pages on BulgarianPod101.com:

That should keep your thirst for knowledge satisfied for a little while, but for even more great learning resources, check out BulgarianPod101.com. If you like what you see, create your free lifetime account today and start learning about Bulgarian culture and the language with us!

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Baba Marta: Celebrating Grandma March Day in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, Baba Marta Day (also called Grandma March Day) is a unique holiday associated with the beginning of spring, and can last all through the month of March. At its center is the mythical Baba Marta Bulgarian folktale character, who personifies every aspect of the month of March.

In this article, you’ll learn all about Baba Marta Day, the character behind it, and the most common traditions for the Baba Marta Bulgaria holiday. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

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1. What is Grandma March Day?

Baba Marta (Granny March Day) is a feast associated with the coming of spring and the mythical figure of Baba Marta.

According to the Baba Marta legend, she is the sister of two other characters, named Big Sechko and Little Sechko, who represent the months of January and February. Baba Marta represents the month of March, as well as the beginning of spring. Therefore, the holiday of Baba Marta is associated with the beginning of a new cycle in nature and with wishes for health and fertility.

In addition, Baba Marta is known for her often-changing mood and anger toward her brothers. Because March in Bulgaria is known for being a month of changing weather, it’s believed that Baba Marta is behind any bad weather or storms that occur during March.

2. When is Baba Marta?

A Cherry Blossom Tree in Full Bloom

Each year, Bulgarians officially begin celebrating Baba Marta Day on March 1, and the holiday can actually last all through the month of March.

3. Baba Marta Traditions & Celebrations

A Bulgarian Baba Marta Martenitsa Tied to a Tree Branch

The most common tradition on Baba Marta Day is that of the Мартеница (martenitsa), which is a Гривна (grivna), or “wrist band,” made of бял и червен конец (byal i cherven konets), or “red- and white-colored thread.” These two colors are said to represent different things; the red is for blood or life, and the white is purity and happiness. Oftentimes, people create their martenitsi with additional decorations, including beads, shells, and even garlic.

People wear these Baba Marta bracelets for most of March, believing them to act as protection against evil spirits, demons, and illness. In addition, it’s thought that Baba Marta martenitsi make Mother March happy, thus ensuring that the wearer has her favor.

In some parts of Bulgaria, martenitsi are worn in different ways depending on who the wearer is. Married men put martenitsi in their right sock, young single men wear them on their left pinkies, and young single girls wear them on the left sides of their dresses. When the wearer sees his or her first sign of spring, like a tree beginning to bloom or the arrival of a sparrow or Щъркел (shtarkel), meaning “stork,” he takes off his martenitsa and ties it to a tree.

4. Baba Yaga?

Baba Marta, for foreigners, may not seem very familiar. But maybe you’ve heard of Baba Yaga, a very similar character from Slavic folklore.

Baba Yaga is generally portrayed as wicked, although in some stories, she has been shown to guide characters with her wisdom. An old woman who lives in a chicken-legged hut, Baba Yaga kidnaps and eats little children and flies around on a pestle carrying a birch broom to cover her tracks.

While found in many Eastern European countries such as Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, and Bulgaria, Baba Yaga figures most prominently in Russian and Polish folktales and literature.

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Baba Marta Day

A Stork

Ready to review some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important vocabulary for Baba Marta Day!

  • Мартеница (martenitsa) — “martenitsa”
  • Гривна (grivna) — “wrist band”
  • Благоденствие (blagodenstvie) — “well-being”
  • Щъркел (shtarkel) — “stork”
  • бял и червен конец (byal i cherven konets) — “red and white colored thread”
  • Здраве (zdrave) — “health”
  • Баба Марта (Baba Marta) — “Granny Martha Day”
  • Баба Марта (Baba Marta) — “Grandma March Day”
  • цъфнало дърво (tsafnalo darvo) — “bloomed tree”
  • плетена гривна (pletena grivna) — “woven wrist band”

To hear the pronunciation of each word, and to read them alongside relevant images, check out our Bulgarian Grandma March Day vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

What are your thoughts on the Baba Marta holiday in Bulgaria? Who are the most popular mythical or folklore characters in your country? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning more about Bulgarian culture and holidays, be sure to check out the following pages on BulgarianPod101.com:

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Blagoveshtenie: Celebrating the Day of Epiphany in Bulgaria

The Day of Epiphany is a Christian holiday on which people celebrate the epiphany of the триединен Бог (triedinen Bog), or “triune God.” In this article, you’ll learn more about how Christians view the Epiphany holiday, and more specifically, how Bulgarians celebrate Epiphany.

At BulgarianPod101.com, we always aim to ensure that your language-learning journey is both fun and informative—starting with this article on Epiphany! Bulgarian customs may just surprise you. 😉

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Epiphany?

Epiphany is a very old holiday. According to the Orthodox Church, this is the day Jesus Christ was baptized in the River Jordan. Thus the holiday is also called “Baptism of the Lord.” The name Bogoyavlenie is formed by two words: bogo, meaning “God’s,” and yavlenie, which is a word meaning “appearance” or “manifestation.”

According to Christianity, at the baptism of Jesus Christ, the secret of the Holy Trinity appeared—the Son Jesus Christ in human form, the Holy Spirit as a dove alighting upon Jesus, and the Divine Voice of the Heavenly Father. Hence the name Bogoyavlenie.

Jesus Christ was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist (Yoan Krastitel). The next day on the calendar, January 7, is Ivanovden—name-day of Ivan, Ivanka, etc., and the feast of Sveti Yoan Krastitel (Saint John the Baptist).

2. When is Epiphany in Bulgaria?

Adoration of the Magi

Each year, Epiphany (Bogoyavlenie) is celebrated on January 6 and is also a name-day for people carrying the names Yordan, Yordanka, and similar names. This is because these names derive from the name of the River Jordan (Yordan).

Other common names celebrated on this name-day are Bozhidar, Bozhan, Boyan, Bogdana, and Dancho.

3. Reading Practice: Bulgarian Celebration of the Epiphany

Swimming in Water

On Epiphany Day, Bulgarian traditions and customs reflect the theme of baptism.

Do you know how Bulgarian Christians celebrate Epiphany? Read the Bulgarian text below to find out, and check your reading skills against the English version.

На Йордановден се яде постно и на трапезата трябва задължително да присъстват царевичен хляб или царевични питки.

Популярен обичай на Богоявление е да се хвърля кръст в леденостудените води на реките. Обикновено мъже скачат да го уловят. Този, който го намери се смята, че ще бъде благословен с късмет.

On Yordanovden, people fast, and there must be cornbread or flat corn loaves on the table.

A popular custom on Epiphany is to cast a cross into the ice-cold water of the rivers. Usually, men jump in to take it; the one who finds it is considered to be blessed with luck.

4. Many Names

Epiphany in the Bulgarian culture is a holiday with many names. Do you know what they are?

Besides Baptism of the Lord, this day is also called Yordanovden, Winter Feast of the Cross, Enlightenment, Waters, and even Vodokrashti, because of the association with Jesus’s baptizing in the waters of Jordan.

5. Essential Bulgarian Vocab for Epiphany

Cleaning Hands in Water

Here’s some Bulgarian vocabulary you need to know for Epiphany!

  • състезавам се (sastezavam se) — compete
  • Кръщавам (krashtavam) — baptize
  • Кръст (krast) — cross
  • Мъдрец (madrets) — Wise Men
  • хвърлям във водата (hvarlyam vav vodata) — toss in the water
  • мъже танцуват в реката (mazhe tantsuvat v rekata) — men dancing in the river
  • Почитам (pochitam) — worship
  • поклонение на влъхвите (poklonenie na vlahvite) — adoration of the Magi
  • Водосвет (vodosvet) — sanctification of the water
  • триединен Бог (triedinen Bog) — triune God
  • Пречистване (prechistvane) — purification
  • скачам във водата (skacham vav vodata) — jump in the water
  • мокри дрехи (mokri drehi) — wet clothes

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Bulgarian Epiphany vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Bulgarian Epiphany traditions and the story behind this significant Christian holiday.

Do you celebrate Epiphany in your country? If so, how? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in learning more about Bulgarian culture, or want to learn some wintery words to get you through the next couple of months, you may find the following pages useful:

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Happy Bulgarian learning! 🙂

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Celebrating Revival Leaders’ Day in Bulgaria

There is a special holiday in Bulgaria dedicated to the national revival leaders. These leaders of the Bulgarian people are bookmen and revolutionaries; people who through the different periods of time had helped with the enlightenment of the Bulgarian people.

In this article, you’ll learn about Revival Leaders’ Day (sometimes called National Revival Day) and how Bulgarians celebrate. Further, we’ll provide you with some information on those involved in the Bulgarian national revival.

At BulgarianPod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Revival Leaders’ Day?

The Day of the Bulgarian National Revival Leaders is a public holiday, celebrated annually with torchlight processions. The holiday emerged as a way of commemorating the work of people who helped in the national liberation movement of the country. The role of such people in the revival and promotion of the Bulgarian spirit through hard historic events is very important.

Who are the national leaders honored on this day? They include Saint Ivan of Rila, Paìsiy Hilendàrski (Paisius of Hilendar), Vasil Levski, Hristo Botev, Ivan Vazov, and many other people who had contributed to the development of Bulgaria through history. The church holiday on which the Day of Saint Ivan of Rila was commemorated turned into an official holiday under the name Day of the Bulgarian National Revival Leaders.

In 1945, the communist regime in Bulgaria revoked the holiday celebration, because it was in contradiction with the propaganda and censorship imposed at that time. Despite this, it was celebrated unofficially, and in 1992 it became an official holiday again. Since 2002, on this day, the national flag in front of the Presidency is raised and the changing of the sentry takes place, as on other big holidays.

2. When is National Revival Leaders’ Day?

Bulgarian Flag

Each year, Bulgarians celebrate the Bulgarian Revival Leaders’ Day on November 1.

3. Popular Revival Day Traditions & Celebrations

A Special Program

The Day of the Bulgarian National Revival Leaders is a non-attendance day for all schools. Instead, the Bulgarian high school and university students hold parades, while the museums offer free admission.

As mentioned earlier, there are also torchlight processions on this day. Other festivities include masses for the dead and special school programs related to the Bulgarian revival.

4. Two Other Holidays

What else is celebrated on the Day of the Bulgarian National Revival Leaders?

Since 1991, November 1 has also been regarded and celebrated as the Day of Bulgarian Science and the Day of Bulgarian Journalism. On this day, the Union of Bulgarian Journalists gives its annual awards.

5. Essential Revival Leaders’ Day Vocabulary

View of Misty Land from Above

Here’s the most essential vocabulary you should know for Revival Leaders’ Day!

  • Паисий Хилендарски
    Paisii Hilendarski
    Paisius of Hilendar
  • Прекланям се
    Preklanyam se
  • Просветител
  • Възраждам се
    Vazrazhdam se
  • Възрожденски
  • Държавен суверенитет
    Darzhaven suverenitet
    State sovereignty
  • Памет
  • Отменен
  • Свети Иоан Рилски
    Sveti Ioan Rilski
    Saint John of Rila
  • Национално самосъзнание
    Natsionalno samosaznanie
    National identity awareness
  • Наум
    In one’s mind
  • Уважаван
  • Подражавам
  • Празнична програма
    Praznichna programa
    Festive program
  • Панихида
    Mass for the dead
  • Последовател

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Revival Leaders’ Day vocabulary list! Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation, alongside a relevant image.

Final Thoughts

Man Scratching Head

We hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about Revival Leaders’ Day with us, and that you took away some valuable information!

Does your country have a holiday for honoring important historical figures? Let us know in the comments!

Learning about a country’s culture may be the funnest part of trying to master a language. At BulgarianPod101.com, we have fun and effective lessons on many aspects of Bulgaria and its people. For further learning, you may want to check out one of the following pages:

Learning a new language is no easy feat, but practice and consistency are key. At BulgarianPod101, we believe that you really can master the language, and we’ll be here with help and encouragement on every step of your language-learning journey!

Happy learning!

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How to Celebrate the Feast Day of Prophet Elijah in Bulgaria

The Saint Elijah Feast Day in Bulgaria is a huge event, rooted in both history and folklore. In this article, we’ll answer the question “Who is Prophet Elijah?” and provide you with interesting information on this Bulgarian holiday, and the traditions associated with it.

In learning about Saint Elijah Feast Day, you’re learning so much more! This is just one moving part in the complexity of Bulgarian culture, history, and religion, and knowing about these things will significantly improve your Bulgarian language-learning!

At BulgarianPod101.com, we hope to make this learning adventure both fun and informative!

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1. What is St. Elijah’s Day in Bulgaria?

The Saint Elijah Feast Day is when Bulgarians commemorate and celebrate the Prophet Elijah (also known as St. Elijah). This is also a name day for those with names similar to Ilenden, which is yet another name for this holiday.

Who is Elijah the Prophet?

Saint Elijah—patron saint of tailors, and master of the elements of rain, thunder, and lightning—is considered a great of the Old Testament and is also a prominent figure in Bulgarian folklore. In the Bible, Elijah the prophet of God performed many miracles, combatted paganism, and is perhaps most well-known for never actually dying, but rather being taken up to God in a chariot of fire.

Prophet Elijah miracles include raising people from the dead and causing fire to fall from the sky.

In terms of folklore, Prophet Elijah is thought to control the elements involved in thunderstorms and similar natural occurrences.

2. When is St. Elijah Day?

Prophet Elijah in Stained Glass

Each year, St. Elijah’s Day takes place on July 20 (though there is another similar celebration on August 2).

3. How do Bulgarians Celebrate the Saint Elijah Feast Day?

Hands Folded in Prayer

There’s a variety of traditions and celebrations for the St. Elijah Feast Day, many rooted in folklore.

The most common St. Elijah Day tradition is that of offering a sacrifice. Bulgarian towns will sacrifice a bull or a calf, in hopes that the sacrifice will satisfy St. Elijah and thus protect the town from bad storms. In the same vein, farmers pray to St. Elijah for rain in order to maintain healthy crops; Bulgarians also pray to Elijah for health and fertility.

Further, women bake bread for St. Elijah, namely bogovitsa and kolach, and Bulgarians enjoy sharing stories about the saint. Another fun tradition is that of fire dancing. During this fire dancing ceremony, some people walk on the fire barefooted!

Many Bulgarians believe that it’s bad luck to go swimming on St. Elijah Feast Day, especially in the Black Sea. According to superstition, St. Elijah will take those who go swimming as a sacrifice!

4. Uprising Remembrance

July 20 also marks the anniversary of the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising. During this uprising, Bulgaria set out against the Ottoman Empire to unify Bulgarian-populated territories. This event lasted approximately eleven days and was only partially successful.

The official remembrance day for the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising is August 2.

5. Vocabulary You Should Know for St. Elijah’s Day

Hands Holding Light

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for St. Elijah’s Day in Bulgaria!

  • Гръмотевица (gramotevitsa) — thunder
  • Жертва (zhertva) — sacrifice
  • Свети пророк Илия (Sveti prorok Iliya) — Prophet Elijah
  • Илинденско-Преображенско въстание (Ilindensko-Preobrazhensko vastanie) — Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising
  • Събор (sabor) — congregation
  • Градушка (gradushka) — hail
  • Бунт (bunt) — revolt
  • Стар Завет (Star Zavet) — Old Testament
  • Чудотворец (chudotvorets) — wonderworker
  • Крепост (krepost) — fortress
  • езическо божество (ezichesko bozhestvo) — pagan deity
  • моля се (molya se) — pray
  • Удрям (udryam) — strike
  • Завалявам (zavalyavam) — start to rain

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Bulgarian St. Elijah’s Day vocabulary list!


What do you think of St. Elijah Feast Day, and the Bulgarian folklore surrounding it? Did you learn anything new today? Let us know in the comments; we always look forward to hearing from you!

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How to Celebrate International Children’s Day in Bulgaria

Children’s Day in Bulgaria, as you may already know, is a day dedicated to honoring and celebrating children. After all, they have so much potential to offer the world. In this article, we’ll give you some information about Children’s Day in Bulgaria, and what makes it special (considering the existence of World Children’s Day).

At BulgarianPod101.com, we hope to make learning both fun and informative as you gain insight into Bulgarian culture. Knowing a country’s culture is a vital step in language mastery, and holidays represent a significant part of any country’s culture.

That said, let’s talk about the origins of this holiday, and take a look at the most common Children’s Day celebrations in Bulgaria!

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1. What is Children’s Day?

This day is celebrated by almost all countries from the former Socialist Bloc. The holiday originates from the World Conference on the Well-being of Children held in Geneva in 1925. Children’s Day is important because it reminds adults of the necessity for special protection of children’s rights. Children’s rights include the ideas of equity in upbringing, education, social protection, and physical and spiritual development of all children.

2. Children’s Day Date: When is Children’s Day in Bulgaria?

Children Playing Outside in Field

Each year, Bulgarians celebrate International Children’s Day on June 1. This has been the official Children’s Day date since 1950. It began to be honored after 1949, when Moscow established June 1 as the International Day for Protection of Children.

However, the International Kids Day (or International Children’s Day) date is different. We’ll talk more about this later!

3. Children’s Day Celebrations in Bulgaria

Parents Walking with Children

Learn how Bulgarians celebrate their Children’s Day holiday by reading the Bulgarian text below. Then, check your Bulgarian reading skills by reading the English text directly below it.

Денят на детето се празнува с игри и мероприятия, безплатни пропуски за деца, панаири и фестивали, концерти, представления и обществени прояви. За децата има много сладолед, балони и усмивки.

Често на Деня на детето се правят конкурси за детски рисунки или прояви, на които се правят рисунки върху детски лица. Така децата могат да се превърнат в любимите си герои за малко и да се снимат така за спомен.

Children’s Day is celebrated with plays and events, free admission for children, fairs and festivals, concerts, shows, and social activities. There’s a lot of ice cream, balloons, and smiles for the children.

Often on Children’s Day there are competitions for children’s drawings or events for face-painting for children. Thus children can spend some time in the shoes of their favorite characters for a while and take pictures as keepsakes.

4. Date of Universal Children’s Day

Do you know when the Universal Children’s Day is?

In 1954 the UN and UNESCO establish November 20 as Universal Children’s Day. Despite this, the date is not adopted everywhere, because most countries already have established traditions for honoring the holiday.

5. Important Vocabulary for Bulgarian Children’s Day

Cluster of Balloons

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for International Children’s Day in Bulgaria!

  • Люлка (lyulka) — swing
  • сапунено мехурче (sapuneno mehurche) — soap bubble
  • Отглеждане (otglezhdane) — upbringing
  • физическо здраве (fizichesko zdrave) — physical health
  • Балон (balon) — balloon
  • защита на децата (zashtita na detsata) — protection of children
  • Жизнерадостен (zhizneradosten) — cheerful
  • Възпитан (vazpitan) — well-behaved
  • Лъчезарен (lachezaren) — radiant
  • разходка в парка (razhodka v parka) — walk in the park
  • играя навън (igraya navan) — playing outdoors
  • Панаир (panair) — fair
  • Проява (proyava) — happening
  • куклен театър (kuklen teatar) — puppet theatre
  • Близалка (blizalka) — lollipop
  • Забавление (zabavlenie) — entertainment

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Bulgarian International Children’s Day vocabulary list. Here, each word is listed alongside an audio file of its pronunciation.


So, reader, we’re curious: How does your country celebrate Children’s Day? Are celebrations similar or very different in your country? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about Bulgarian history, culture, and the language, visit us at BulgarianPod101.com! We offer something for every learner, making it possible for anyone to master Bulgarian and gain a good understanding of Bulgaria itself. Check out our free vocabulary lists to expand your word knowledge, read more insightful blog posts like this one, and use our online community to discuss lessons with fellow Bulgarian learners! You can also upgrade to Premium Plus to take advantage of our MyTeacher program, and learn Bulgarian one-on-one with your own personal teacher.

Your determination will pay off, so just hang in there and keep working toward your Bulgarian learning goals. We’ll be here on every step of your language-learning journey!

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Bulgarian Holiday for the Glagolitic & Cyrillic Alphabet

The Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slavonic Literature (we know, it’s a mouthful…) is a day to focus on the Cyrillic alphabet, as well as the Glagolitic alphabet. Created by St. Cyril and Methodius, the Glagolitic alphabet structure has helped to shape the Bulgarian language as it is today (using the Cyrillic alphabet), making this a day worth its salt.

Learn more about how St. Cyril and St. Methodius impacted the eventual growth of language in Bulgaria below. By learning about Bulgarian Education and Culture Day, you’re opening yourself up to a unique aspect of Bulgarian culture. And as any language learner can tell you, knowing the culture of your target language’s country is a vital step in the language-learning process!

At BulgarianPod101.com, we hope to make this a fun and informative learning adventure!

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1. What is Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day?

Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture is the day of celebrating the creation of the so-called glagolitsa, which is a type of writing system and actually is the first Slavic alphabet. It was created by the brothers Cyril and Methodius, also known as the Brothers from Thessaloniki. They used the Glagolitic alphabet to write the translations of the Bible, and in this way they helped to preserve the cultural heritage for the future Slavic peoples.

2. When is Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day?

Wreath of Leaves

Each year, Bulgarians celebrate Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day on May 24.

3. Reading Practice: Celebrations for this Bulgarian Holiday

Shoes on Wooden Floor

How do Bulgarians celebrate Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day? Read the Bulgarian text below to find out, and find the English translation directly below it.

Денят на българската просвета и култура и на славянската писменост започва да се чества за пръв път в епохата на българското Възраждане като ден за почитане делото на братята Кирил и Методий. Така този ден става един от начините българите да покажат своето признание и преклонение пред образованието, науката и културата. През 1990 година той става официален празник на Република България.

Химн на този празник е песента Върви, народе възродени, която бива изпълнявана всяка година на честванията на 24-ти май. Празненствата включват тържествени програми с музикални изпълнения на хорови песни и на народни танци. Обикновено училищата и университетите имат празнична украса с венци и цветя, както и богата културна програма. Много често се организират и шествия с участието на ученици и преподаватели.

Песента Върви, народе възродени е стихотворение, написано от поета Стоян Михайловски, което вдъхновява композитора Панайот Пипков за музиката към текста. Българите обичат да проверяват дали другите знаят текста и автора на песента.

The Day of the Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature was first celebrated in the period of the Bulgarian Revival as a day for paying tribute to the work of the brothers Cyril and Methodius. It thus became one of the ways for the Bulgarian people to show their recognition and admiration for education, science, and culture. In 1990, it became a public holiday in the Republic of Bulgaria.

The anthem of this holiday is the song March Ahead, Oh, Revived People which is performed every year at the celebrations of May 24. The festivities include celebratory programs with musical performances of choral songs and folk dances. Usually, the schools and the universities have festive decorations of wreaths and flowers as well as prolific cultural program. Very often, processions are organized with the participation of students and teachers.

The song March Ahead, Oh, Revived People is a poem written by the poet Stoyan Mihaylovski which inspires the composer Panayot Pipkov to write music for the lyrics. Bulgarians like checking if others know the text and the author of the song.

4. Glagolitic & Cyrillic Alphabet Connection

Do you know what the connection is between the glagolitsa (Glagolitic alphabet) and the kirilitsa (Cyrillic alphabet), which is used nowadays?

The Saint brothers Cyril and Methodius created the glagolitsa. The kirilitsa appeared in Bulgaria at the end of the ninth century. During the 10th – 11th centuries, the kirilitsa was used alongside the glagolitsa, but it gradually started replacing it in the twelfth century.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Bulgarian Culture Day

Wooden Alphabet Blocks

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day!

  • Библиотека (biblioteka) — library
  • Училище (uchilishte) — school
  • Литература (literatura) — literature
  • Образование (obrazovanie) — education
  • Ден на българската просвета и култура и на славянската писменост (Den na balgarskata prosveta i kultura i na slavyanskata pismenost) — Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day
  • Азбука (azbuka) — alphabet
  • Кирилица (kirilitsa) — Cyrillic alphabet
  • Култура (kultura) — culture
  • Св.св. Кирил и Методий (Sv.sv. Kiril i Metodiy) — St. Cyril and St. Methodius
  • Глаголица (glagolitsa) — Glagolitic alphabet
  • Просвещение (prosveshtenie) — enlightenment
  • Венец (venets) — wreath

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced (yes, even the long holiday name!), check out our relevant vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio file of its pronunciation.


What do you think of Bulgarian Education and Culture, and Slavonic Literature Day? Does your country have a holiday celebrating any of these things? Let us know in the comments! We want to hear from you! 🙂

If you’re looking to learn more about Bulgarian culture and the language, visit us at BulgarianPod101.com. Make use of our insightful blog posts and free vocabulary lists, and chat with fellow Bulgarian learners on our online community! If you want a one-on-one learning experience, you can also create (or upgrade to) a Premium Plus account to take advantage of our MyTeacher program.

Learning a new language can be hard, and its culture even trickier, but know that your hard work will pay off! We believe in you—you’ll become a master before you know it!

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