Bulgarian National Days

Bulgarian National Days

* Some civil holidays may coincide with Orthodox Church Events.

New Year's Day
1 January

The world's most widely celebrated holiday, New Years was set on January 1 by Julius Caesar because that was the date the Roman consuls took over their duties

Liberation Day
3 March

For the first time 3 March was celebrated in 1880 as the Day of the Ascension of Emperor Alexander II. 
Since 1888 it has been commemorated as the Day of Bulgaria's Liberation from Ottoman rule.

It was celebrated as a national holiday for a single time in 1978 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Liberation. Ten years later it became a legal holiday.

By a legislative decision of 5 March 1990 this date was declared national holiday.

Orthodox Good Friday*
April - May (the date changes according to the year)

The bright red colored egg is the symbol of Easter (or Pascha) The eggs are colored on Holy Thursday after the Divine Liturgy. The Easter bread is taken to church on Saturday evening when a special sequence of services takes place.

After the service the clergy blesses the breads and eggs brought by the people and they take them home. The eggs are cracked after the midnight service and during the next days. One egg is cracked on the wall of the church (and this is the first egg eaten.

The ritual of cracking the eggs takes place before the Easter lunch. Each person selects his/her egg. Then people take turns tapping their egg against the eggs of others, and the person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of.

Orthodox Easter Monday*
April – May (the date changes according to the year)

The bright red colored egg is the symbol of Easter(or Pascha).The eggs are colored on Holy Thursday after the Divine Liturgy.The Easter breads are a worldwide Orthodox tradition as well.This bread is taken to church on Saturday evening when a special sequence of services takes place:Midnight Office,Rush Procession,Matins & Divine Liturgy.After the service,the clergy blesses the breads and eggs brought by the people and they take them home.The eggs are cracked after the midnight service and during the next days.One egg takes place before the Easter lunch.Each person who ends up with the last unbroken egg is believed to have a year of good luck.The traditional Orthodox Paschal greeting is:"Christ is Risen!".The answer is:"Indeed He is Risen".

Labour Day/May Day
1 May (every year)

Some pre-history: Chicago, Saturday May 1st, 1886: 350,000 workers go on strike to call for an 8-hour working day. Industries are paralyzed nationwide. On Monday, as demonstrations go on, the police open fire. On Tuesday, Chicago is again on strike. Following a bomb launched against them, the police shoots again. 12 dead, of which 7 policemen. 8 anarchists will be condemned and executed. In 1889, the Socialist International Movement met in Paris and declared this day "international workers' day".

St George's Day / Army Day*
6 May (every year)

One of the most respected saints in Bulgaria is Saint George the Victor. He is patron of farmers. On the day preceding the day of St. George the peasants used to plant a beech bough, into leaf, in the middle of their fields, in order to make the wheat grow high and, in general, have rich crops. At the door of each house, beech twigs, blossoming hawthorn, lilac or other bushes in flower were fixed. On St. George's Day the housewives stuck green branches t the fountains and the wells and dropped stalks of nettle in the water cauldrons - for good health.

St. George's Day is also the festival of cattle breeders. Traditionally, on this day shepherds would take a lamb, with a wreath on its little horns, to the churchyard. The priest would say a solemn prayer for the health of both humans and animals, and for a rich harvest. It was a custom for each household to have roasted lamb or some other lamb dish on its St. George's Day table. Here follow several recipes which can help you prepare an original festive meal for your family or friends.

Bulgarian Alphabet and Culture Day
24 May (every year)

The Bulgarian language belongs to the South Slavic branch of the Slavic languages and uses the Cyrillic alphabet:

The history of the language covers three periods: old (9th century - 11th century), middle (12th century - 14th century), and modern (15th century through present day). The modern literary language was formed during the Bulgarian National Revival (18th - 19th centuries).

The Bulgarian language is unique among the Slavic languages for several reasons. The definite article is added as a suffix, coming after the noun. It has lost the case system from Common Slavic and prepositions have replaced cases to show the relationships between parts of a sentence. The language has 9 tenses, but the infinitive verb form no longer exists.

The Cyrillic alphabet was developed by St. St. Cyril and Methodius and they have created the alphabet on which the modern languages of Russia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and of the former Soviet republics are based.

Union Day
6 September (every year)

The Russo-Turkish war set Bulgaria free from rule by the Ottoman Empire in 1878, but it included only a small part of the Bulgarian lands. The Berlin Congress revised the San Stefano Peace Treaty and sliced the Bulgarian territory into several parts: the Principality of Bulgaria with an elected knyaz (prince), and Eastern Roumelia with its capital Plovdiv and a Christian Governor-General, appointed by the sultan. Half of the people were free, while the other half remained in the sultan's caliphate. Thrace and Macedonia remained in the Ottoman Empire. The Bulgarian people reacted against the decision of the Berlin Congress with the Kresna-Razlog uprising of 1878-1879, Alexander I Battenberg was elected Prince, and accomplishment of the unification of Eastern Rumelia and the Principality of Bulgaria was completed in year 1885.

Independence Day
22 September (every year)

On 22 September 1908 Bulgaria gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Day of the leaders of the Bulgarian National Revival
1 November (every year)

The National Revival is a period when Bulgarians gathered spiritual and intellectual strength to establish their right of independent political and social existence, and their own culture and education. Outstanding figures of the Bulgarian National Revival, most of them educated abroad, gradually arrived at the idea of opening a school of higher education, which "would make Bulgarians equal with other politically independent, socially organised and culturally emancipated nations".