3rd of March is the National Holiday of Bulgaria and it is the day when Bulgarians celebrate the Liberation from the Ottoman slavery. After five, dark centuries of slavery, the Russian troops, supported by Romanian, Finland armies and Bulgarian volunteer force won the freedom of our country. The military operations lasted 1 year and the Russian-Ottoman Liberation War was over on the 3rd of March 1878 with the Treaty of San Stefano. 3 RD OF MARCH - THE LIBERATION DAY
The treaty set up an autonomous self- governing tributary principality Bulgaria with a Christian government and the right to keep an army. Its territory included the plain between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountain Range (Stara Planina), the region of Sofia, Pirot and Vranje in the Morava valley, Northern Thrace, parts of Eastern Thrace and nearly all of Macedonia. But the national pride was smashed by the Congress of Berlin which separated the independent lands of Bulgaria to Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia- under the political and military domination of the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria united the divided territories on the 6th of September 1885s. 3rd OF MARCH IS MARKED BY IMPRESSIVE WAR PARADES AND FESTIVAL PROGRAM ON SHIPKA PEAK IN CENTRAL BALKAN MOUNTAIN RANGE. THE GLORIOUS HILL WAS THE SPOT OF FEROCIOUS BATTLES OF THE BULGARIAN VOLUNTEERS AND RUSSIAN ARMY AGAINST THE OTTOMAN TROOPS.
Bulgaria celebrates May 24 as the day of the Bulgarian Education and Culture and Slav Letters and it is marked with nationwide festivities. In the 9th century the Holy Brothers Sts. Cyril and Methodius created the Slavic alphabet and made the first translations in it. Their disciples introduced the alphabet in Bulgaria, putting the beginning of its journey to the world. Several centuries later, Patriarch Evtimii launched a literary reform and updated the alphabet, assuming that words are expression of the divine essence of things. The Cyrillic alphabet has been in existence for more than eleven centuries, but it was introduced for the first time in the European Union after Bulgaria obtained full membership. The Bulgarian language brought the total number of "linguae europeae" to 23. With its adoption the alphabets in use across the Union got enlarged by one more - the Cyrillic. The first celebration in commemoration of Sts Cyril and Methodius occurred 156 years ago in a Plovdiv school, currently after the name of the Saints. 24 MAY - BULGARIAN EDUCATION AND CULTURE
Unification Day commemorates the unification of Eastern Rumelia and Bulgaria in 1885. It was coordinated by the Bulgarian Secret Revolutionary Committee (BSRC). The unification became a fact after several rebellions in different towns in Eastern Roumelia followed by military take-over patronized by prince Alexander I. After the unification Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia had joint government, a parliament, administration and army. It provoked Russias disapproval and with its support several days later on 2nd November 1885 Serbia assaulted Bulgaria. After 3 days of combats near Slivnitsa on 7th November the Bulgarian army won the battles. On 19th February 1886 in Bucharest was signed the treaty which restored the pre-war borderlines with Serbia. By this treaty the unification received an international recognition. 6 SEPTEMBER - UNIFICATION DAY
CHRISTIAN CHURCH HOLIDAYS IN BULGARIA
Blagoveshtenie is a major Christian Church holiday, reaffirmed during the 7th century. According to the Holy Script, on that day, nine months before the birth of Jesus Christ, Archangel Gabriel came to the Holy Virgin. He told her that she would become the mother of the Son of God. That sweet news also gave the name of the holiday in Bulgarian - Blagoveshtenie (meaning "Sweet News"). The feast is also known under the name of Blagovshtene, Blagovets, Blagoets - in English: Annucation, or Lady Day. In the traditional conception this day is associated with the arrival of the migratory birds and with the final springtime awakening of Nature. 25 MARCH - BLAGOVESHTENIE
Palm Sunday (Tsvetnitsa) is a Christian moveable feast which always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. On the Sunday after Lazaritsa, the maids that had danced as lazarki would gather and go to the river. They would pick blossoming willow twigs and twine them into wreaths. That's how the present-day tradition of buying willow twigs and have them blessed at the church was born. It is still a common practice to fix willow twigs on the front door to ensure the good health and vigour of the family. On Tsvetnitsa people go to church carrying flowers and this particular custom has given the name of the festival. Tsvetnitsa is celebrated as the name day of all those bearing names that correspond with the name of some flower. PALM SUNDAY - TSVETNITSA
Easter traditions in Bulgaria are a derivative of the Eastern Orthodox Church rituals. As the Bulgarian name implies "Velikden" (Great Day), Easter in one of the most significant holidays in the Bulgarian calendar and starting with Palm Sunday, the holy week leads up to the Great Day. In tune with worldwide Orthodox traditions, bright red colored eggs and Easter breads known as "kolache" or "kozunak" are the prominent symbols of Easter in Bulgaria. At midnight on the Saturday before Easter Sunday, people gather at the church with red painted eggs and bread. The priest proclaims three times "Christos voskrese" (Christ has risen) and the congregation replies "Vo istina voskrese" (Indeed he has risen). One of the Easter breads is specially decorated with one or more (but an odd number) of red eggs. After a special sequence of services, the clergy blesses the breads and eggs brought by the people. EASTER HOLIDAY IN BULGARIA
The Bulgarian good luck crack is a unique Easter tradition in Bulgaria. Eggs are cracked after the midnight service and over the next few days. The egg that is cracked on the wall of the church is the first egg people eat after the long fast of Lent. People take turns in tapping their eggs against the eggs of others, and the person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of good luck. In days preceding Easter, Christian families send a loaf of bread and red eggs as presents to their friends. The person who delivers the eggs usually receives a little money in thanks. Such breads and eggs are presented not only to the friends, but also to the Spiritual parents, to the biological parents, and also to other relatives, friends, etc.
Christmas (Koleda) is a continuation of Christmas Eve the last day of the Long Lent and starts at midnight with a ritual called Koleduvane. In Koleduvane take part newly married, young men and fiancs called Koledari. The preparation begins from Ignazhden (20th December) - they study the Christmas songs, form the Christmas groups of Koledari, set the leaders of the groups. The time for Koleduvane is strictly determined by the tradition from midnight until sunrise on Christmas day. 25 DECEMBER - CHRISTMAS DAY
At the same time it is believed that supernatural creatures vampires, ghouls and goblins come out and walk around. The Koledari, chase them up through the ritual songs. During the night they go from house to house, sing songs wishing health, happiness and rich harvest. The householders give them ritual breads, called kravai (ring-shaped bun). It is a tradition on Christmas day a pig to be slaughtered. Women knead ritual bread with a coin put into it. The one who takes the piece with the coin will be healthy and lucky through the year. The table stays set all day long, ready for everyone who visits the family. Another symbol of Christmas is the Christmas tree. On the eve of Christmas the whole family takes part in the decoration of the tree garlands, silver balls, angels and many fairy lights are put on it.
SEASONAL HOLIDAYS IN BULGARIA
The 1st of March is known as the day of Baba Marta. It is a unique Bulgarian Holiday with no analogue among the other nations. On the day of Baba (Grandmother) Marta, people are giving each other martenitsi. The small red and white talismans are symbol of health and fertility. The roots of the holiday date back to the pagan times. The red colour is a symbol of the feminine beginning, health, conception and birth, and the white on the other hand is the male beginning, strength and light. By this invariable combination between the man and woman, which actually rules the world, the Bulgarian folklore notifies the beginning of the spring season and the new beginning. 01 MARCH - BABA MARTA
Most of the legends for the origin of the matrenitsa are related to the foundation of Bulgaria and the pre- Bulgarians. One of them says that after a vicious battle, when the khan himself found his death, the Bulgarians managed to win and sent a pigeon to their relatives with white cotton weaved on it as a sign of victory. Hostile arrow, however hit the pigeon and his blood coloured the cotton, until he reached the village. The priest interpreted this, as a sign of victory, gained with a lot of blood.
The other legend tells that after the victory of khan Asparuh over the Byzantines, he had to thank god Tangra. Accord
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