Bulgaria Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by shavy
  • Local Customs
    by shavy
  • Local Customs
    by shavy

Bulgaria Local Customs

  • shaking head vs nodding

    Sofia Local Customs

    I bet there are already plenty of tips on this topic, but I find it so important that I have decided to start my Sofia page from it. In Bulgaria, like in Macedonia and Albania (I have read this), the head gestures to say "yes" and "no" are inverted in comparison with the rest of European countries. When Bulgarians shake their heads, they mean...

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  • etiquette

    Sofia Local Customs

    One sure way to recognise Bulgarians is by watching how they season their meals. We take the salt shaker, then we tap the bottom of it few times on the table (to shake it well) and then we season. The reason is that often in restaurants the salt is dampen by use or general humidity and it sticks together in the shaker. This is also why you can...

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  • hollidays

    Sofia Local Customs

    New Year's Eve is a great holiday here. In Sofia, every year there is a free open-air concert in the square in front of the National Gallery. Usually it starts at 10 pm on Dec. 31 and ends in the early hours of Jan 1st. There are some pop and rock bands, folk music and dance, etc. A few minutes before midnight, they broadcast the President's speach...

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  • drinks

    Sofia Local Customs

    Ayryan is a typical analcoholic drink made with yoghurt and water, to which you can add as much salt as you wish. I tried it at the O!Shipka restaurant. More information here. When I went to have lunch to O!Shipka with my future friend Kristian, he let me taste this drink and, although I found it a little disgusting in the beginning, I didn't...

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  • friendship

    Sofia Local Customs

    Pleace click on the picture to receive your little virtual gift from Sofia. I hope you enjoyed the page and if you have questions - I will be happy to help you :0)

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  • parking

    Sofia Local Customs

    Well, actually I saw the car a couple of times around my office and was thinking to take a picture of it but somebody put this idea into life before I did :))) So, I got the picture in my mail. That picture is taken on Slaveikov square where parking of cars is forbiden :))) Sometimes I wonder how stupid our policemen can get. The streets of Sofia...

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  • strikes

    Sofia Local Customs

    The demonstration that took place when I was in Sofia was by forest workers and wasn't at all violent, but it was large. The demonstrators started from in front of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and I saw them again congregated in front of the National Council. The march was festive in a way, but you would be advised to keep a good distance from...

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  • bg dinner

    Sofia Local Customs

    we thought that the 'bulgarian dinner' would be another tourist trap, that they would give us some lousy food and we would have to pay extra for the music, or something like that. but, lucky for us, it wasn't. it tourned up to be one of the best things we expirienced in sofia! there was a bend playing on traditional instruments, a girl singing...

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  • Kukeri

    Sofia Local Customs

    The Bulgarian traditional beliefs define the 2 weeks after Xmas as the time of various evile spirits -- vampires, 'talasumi' (ghosts), samodivi (evil women spirits), and other demons. This is the time between the birth of Jesus and his baptising. During this period the evil spirits leave the underworld to terrorise the peaceful folk. These days...

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  • Baba Marta - Grandmother March

    The first of March is a particularly Bulgarian celebration whose origins are shrouded in folklore but is essentially the local variation of the rites of spring. The Baba Marta of folklore is a capricious old woman whose mood needs appeased in order to ensure good weather for the coming growing season. The custom is to don a woven red and white...

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  • Tzvetnitza - The Day of Flowers

    Tzvenitza is another particularly Bulgarian custom, celebrated on Palm Sunday - the Sunday before the Orthodox celebration of Easter. This is the name day for all those named after flowers. Tzvetnitza is also known as Vrubnitza ( the day of the willows). The tradition is to pick twigs of willow leaves which are then taken to church to be...

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  • The art of tipping

    Yet another costume, I was very surprised about, was the tipping-ritual. It is quite offending to give tips by the hand. So, if you want to give a tip; you must leave that money on the table with the rest of your bill and walk away. Yet, this can lead to some hilarious situations! Lets say, in my case, I knew about this custom, so I left the money...

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  • Palm Sunday

    Tsvetnitsa-Vrabnitsa (Palm Sunday) is one of the biggest Bulgarian holidays, rich in a variety of customs, songs and melodies. The holiday is held annually on the last Sunday before Easter (and it is the people’s belief that this is the holiday of the fields, meadows and forests.Being one of the most beautiful spring holidays it celebrates the day...

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  • Ignazhden

    20 December is Ignazhden - the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Antioch. According to tradition, the Virgin's labor pains began on this day and continued until Christmas. Many ethnographers think that in ancient pagan times Christmas Eve and Ignazhden coincided, both celebrating God Kolada. The separation of the two holidays came after the Slavs were...

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  • Lazaruvane

    The day of Lazar, Saturday before Palm Sunday is traditional celebration. The main ritual of the celebration is "lazaruvane"- it is with love-marriage character."Lazarki"are girls over 16 years old. They go around the field and the houсes, dance and sing songs for love,women,rich crop,health and prosperity.

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  • Christmast

    It is believed that as Christmas Eve goes, so goes the life during the following year. Therefore the whole family becomes involved in performing the rituals. So, it is also Christmas Eve in Bulgaria; by tradition, it may be called "Sukha koleda" (Dry Christmas), "Malka koleda" (Little Christmas) or "Kadena vecher" (Incensed Night). For Orthodox...

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  • Name days

    A Name Day is the feast day of the saint after whom one is named.The most popular are:01 January - Vasil, Vasilena 06 January - Jordan, Jordanka, Boyana, Boyan,Bogdana,Bogdan 07 January - Ivan, Ioan, Ivailo, Ivanka, Ioana, Ivaila, Iveta17 January - Anton, Andon, Dona, Donka 18 January - Atanas, Atanaska, Jivko, Traian 01 February - Trifon, Veselin,...

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  • Day of Slavic Alphabet and Culture

    For nearly a thousand years the Cyrillic alphabet has been one of the few officially recognised languages along with Hebrew, Greek and Latin for spreading Christianity among the peoples of Europe. Now, with Bulgaria's accession into the European Union on January 1 2007, Bulgarian has become an official language of the European Union (EU)....

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  • 3-d of March - The Liberation of...

    03.03.1878 is the official date when was signed the Treaty of San Stefano according to which Bulgaria was established as a separate client-state of the Ottoman Empire. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 brought that Liberty. Bulgaria achieved its full independence on 22 September 1908, already united with Eastern Rumelia(the Union of 1886)This is a...

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  • Eating With A Fork

    Bulgarians tend to take life at a relatively slow pace and this applies too when eating. Eating is a very social activity here with the conversation being as important as the food.Another thing that I did notice is that Bulgarians only use a knife when the food needs to be cut, otherwise they always eat solely with a fork. This is perhaps why...

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  • Weddings

    I recently went to a wedding where most customs were kept so I'll write some of the customs (some traditional, some international):- the traditional dance is called 'horo' (folk music), there are many horo's- the couple eats round bread dipped in honey- everybody shouts 'gorchivo' (bitter) so that the couple kisses - the couple breaks a round bread...

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  • Gipsies

    Bulgaria has quite a lot of gypsies (officially called Roma). While a lot is being done for their integration, most of them still are uneducated, unemployed and living in very poor conditions. You can see them go through the trash picking up paper, plastic and other recyclables. Some steal farm animals and produce, some, risk their lifes and steal...

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  • Smoking everywhere!

    I don't know if it is a local custom, but I have to inform you about this bad Bulgarian habit. People smoke everywhere except in the transport vehicles, most of the offices and administrative buildings. Most of the pubs and restaurants have no smoking area, but it's not used very much. Well, at least you can always find a table there:)So, people,...

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  • Bulgarian Language and Cyrillic - A...

    One thing the casual visitor to Bulgaria will immediately realise is that the Bulgarian language is quite unique and has its own alphabet, Cyrillic, which, even though shared by several other Slavic languages, was in fact first developed here in Bulgaria.Reading and speaking the language is relatively simple once you get to grips with the Cyrillic...

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  • Sirni Zagovezni

    Sirni Zagovezni - Shrove Sunday - was one of the best loved festivals coming at the close of winter. It always fell on the Sunday just seven weeks before Easter, marking the beginning of the Great Lent, the longest period of fasting throughout the year. In its way, the festival also served to mark the beginning of spring. In olden days, most...

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  • Bulgarian Cuisine - A Personal Viewpoint...

    As befits a country which has long relied on its rich fertile soil Bulgarian cuisine is essentially a peasant cuisine where the growing of vegetables and saladstuffs take precedence. As with any agrarian economy the food culture has developed around maximising the use of the land and so sheep, cattle and goats are reared mainly for their milk, hens...

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  • Koleduvane

    In Bulgaria "Koleda" means Christmast.There is a tradition called "koleduvane"-around Christmas, groups of boys visit houses, sing carols and receive gifts at parting.Nowadays,this tradition is a little bit forgoten,but still there are men and boys who visit the houses.

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  • Baba Marta/Grandma Marta/

    Baba Matra is a traditional celebration on the first of March.People put on there clothes or on the hand"martenitsi" (made from threads-red and white) for health and happieness.According to one of the several proposed legends attempting to explain the Martenitsa, the custom has roots in the late seventh century. This legend says that the Bulgarian...

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  • easy to drink

    it's cheap to hang out at local "caffes"; u can get cheap breakfast and coffee in the morning or anytime during the day and at evinings evenings one can get drinks ...not much is required to have fun, ah? ID is still not required for buying alcohol.

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  • Best Bulgarian Wine? - Assenovgrad 2003...

    Bulgaria has a long tradition of wine-making and in fact the whole country is suited to viniculture with the 5 main growing regions each having their particular micro-climates which suit different grapes. The regions are as follows (from bulgariawine.com):"Danube River Plains (Northern Region) This region has around 30% of the vineyards in the...

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  • Best Bulgarian Beer? - Zagorka Gets My...

    Historically Bulgaria is much more of a wine (and rakia) drinking culture and in fact Bulgaria's first commercial brewery wasn't established until 1881 when the Plovdiv brewery was opened. Since then beer drinking has grown in popularity and Bulgaria now ranks as the number 21 in the league of beer drinking countries with an average consumption of...

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  • Shaking and Nodding Of The Head

    Even though I already knew about this custom before I went to Bulgaria it is still quite disconcerting when you order a beer and the waitress smiles then shakes her head before going off to fetch it for you. Yep, here in Bulgaria the shaking and nodding of the head means the opposite to what it means here in the UK and it does take a bit of getting...

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  • 1st of March -A Wish for good health and...

    It's a bulgarian tradition on the 1st day of march to celebrate the upcoming spring by offering to our friends and family Martenitzi. Martenitza always comes in white and red, with different shapes and sometimes decorated with beads,colorfil threads, coins....The tradition says ,that you need to carry it on your clothes until you see a stork , than...

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  • pop folk music

    Pop folk music is the main music that people listen in Bulgaria . There are several reasons for this - first these are remixed traditional rhymes and folklore songs that are close to the hearts of Bulgarians , second they are in Bulgarian and everybody understands them, third the pop folk singers are incredibly beautiful women ,that are idolized by...

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  • Yes and No

    Here we have a different way of saying 'yes' and 'no'. I suppose that this is left form the time when we were under the Ottoman Empire. That's why better listen carefully and watch the person, don't trust only on what you see! :-)

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  • "Kukeri"

    Dating back from the dawn of time ,this pagan tradition to wear animal fur costumes ,scary masks and bells to chase away evil spirits, "orisnici", and black magic. By performing a special dance ,the evil spirits are sent away.This tradition dates back in the IX th century and is still performed up to date on Orthodox New Year's Eve and on the...

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  • Customs and duty free shopping

    Customs are typical European ones, nothing different. But when you leave Bulgaria give a visit to duty free shops. From the first look the duty free shop looks very typical too. But we found that alcohol drinks are much lower priced regarding EU duty free shops. Visit local wines shop. There may be many interesting old wines for very reasonable...

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  • The Blind Prophetess Vanga

    Vanga - the prophetess from Petrich has become a martyr and legend for Bulgarians. She saw past, present and future at the same time. Politicians and people from all over the world that knew about her gift payed her visits in hard moments and she helped everyone. Among them are told to be Khyas Boris III, our Comminist dictator Todor Jivkov and...

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  • European Union

    Bulgaria and Romania entered the European Union on 1 January 2007. Due to that there were many special events, with its culmination, the concert on New Year's Eve and the great fireworks (photos of the fireworks on the previous tip).There was a special clock counting down the days left till the EU accession. You can see the clock on the last day,...

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  • New Year's Eve

    New Year's Eve is a big thing in Bulgaria. Partly, it's due to the fact that religion was'forgotten' during the socialist era, and Christmas wasn't officially celebrated. There were decorated trees, but the old red-nesed man who brought presents to children wasn't Father Christmas. He was called Diado Mraz (Father Frost) and brought the presents on...

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  • Yes means no and no means yes

    Yes =we shake heads from left to rightNo= up and downIt can be very confusing sometimes!Check out this short article for a suggestion on why we do so:slweekly

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  • Food/drink measures on menus

    In many restaurants, alongside prices the mass (g) or volume (ml) is given. This is very useful as a guide as to how much food/drink you will get, thus how much food/what to order is made easier and you can quickly decide whether to share, order more etc.

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  • Customs

    In Bulgaria they shake their head when they mean YES and nod when they mean NO. Thats the opposite way of anyone else but u dont have to remember this if u spend all your time in the tourist areas because people there knows. If u on the other hand take a trip outside the touristarea and even in the big cities u have to remember this. Also never say...

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  • Bread and Salt

    It is a Bulgarian Tradition to welcome our guests with Home made Bread - "Pogacha" and Salt .Sometimes salt can be substituted with a typical local mix of herbs called "Chubritsa".

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  • Bulgarian Alphabet

    I am going to write a tip about Bulgarian Alphabet (or alphabets) and especially how to use it some day soon.Here I'd like to share how we celebrate the Day of the Bulgarian Alphabet and Culture (or to be tolerant to other Slavonic countries, the Day of the Slavonic Literacy and Cultury). This day is celebrated on the 24th of May and it is a...

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Bulgaria Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Bulgaria local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Bulgaria sightseeing.
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