Since the World Conference on the Well-being of Children in Geneva in 1925 June 1st was officially adopted as International Children's Day. Some nations chose to ignore this but it was taken up wholeheartedly by the Socialist European Countries and here in Bulgaria it is quite a major event.
Povdiv celebrated the day with gusto during my visit in 2011. Amongst other events there was an open air concert which seemed to run most of the day, a fun fair was set up in one of the city parks and everyone seemed to be out enjoying themselves.
My two previous visits to Plovdiv had both been in the winter but this visit in early June let me see the city in, literally, an entirely different light.
All along the main pedestrian street of Knaz Alexandr Battenberg the cafes and restaurants had spilled out onto the pavements in a burst of colour (the colours of the umbrellas of the various competing beer makers!).
As well as the bars, all of which were busy, there were also a plethora of fast food stalls all competing equally colourfully for the passing trade with offerings ranging from ice-creams to the ubiquitous pizza (Bulgaria's other National dish!) and in between various art and craft vendors showcasing their wares.
The best bit though was that, in early June, I seemed to be the only tourist!
"Ayliak" is a Turkish word meaning somebody who is not busy with any work,free, even lazy. This word is mainly used in Plovdiv and specifically the expression "bichi ayliak" meaning "taking it easy". It doesn't mean that people in Plovdiv are lazy,it's just the calm atmosphere the city has,people are walking or sitting,chatting,eating ice cream,drinking beer or something...love my city!
I'm sharing a video to give you better idea what does it mean.
This year the gallery and museum night took place for 6-th time in Plovdiv. As every year I was very inpatient because it is alway so much fun. And this year was also special because we had it in 2 days - 24 and 25 of September. The program is very rich every time and you can visit all the 15 museums and more than 30 galleries. All the places are within walking distance and it's easy to go around them. There are stages and musicians, there are guests and participants from all over the World. You just have to prepare comfortable shoos and take your good mood and you're welcome next year.
His name is Stafan Ivanov but everybody knows him as Stefcho autographa. He is unique person,he's 48 and has found the meaning of his life - collecting autographs from people-known and unknown to the World.(Even I have signed ). There is no concert,event,festival in Plovdiv,Sofia,etc that can take place without him. Maybe for the first impression you can think he's crazy but he's not.He has graduated Jоurnalism and he speaks perfect German. He has more that 300000 autographs in hundred of notebooks. Unfortunately ha can't apply for Guinness because he doesn't have the names and the dates of the persons put their signs. But Stefcho says he remembers everybody :)
He has job retired because of an accident happened long time ago and he lives now with his small pension and he travels with it and he buys his notebooks. But he believes in what he does and do it with passion - something that so many of us don't have.
He's a Plovdiv legend and I can't imagine not seeing him around.
In late Autumn and early Winter the pumpkins are harvested by the truckload. These are in such abundance that they almost give them away - in fact maybe they do as there didn't seem to be anyone selling these ones, nor was there any price displayed.
The two main Bulgarian delicacies using pumpkins are the traditional Pumpkin Pie (pic2) and Tikvenik (pic3). Here's a couple of traditional recipes:
Ingredients: 8 ounces sweet shortcrust pastry, 1 pound peeled and diced pumpkin, 2 eggs, 4 ounces sugar, half a teaspoon ground ginger, half a teaspoon ground cinnamon, quarter pint double cream OR evaporated milk.
Method: Preheat oven to medium high. Boil pumpkin in water until just starting to soften. Meanwhile line a suitable greased baking tin with the pastry. Mix the eggs, cream, sugar and spices. Drain pumpkin and allow to cool and dry a little before adding to pastry. Pour egg mix over and bake for about 40 minutes until set. Allow to cool and then chill before cutting and serving. This should be tooth-rottingly sweet!
Ingredients: 1 pack filo pastry, 1 and a half pounds peeled and diced pumpkin, 1 cup sugar, 2 ounces chopped walnuts, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 4 ounces melted butter.
Method: Preheat oven to medium high. Boil pumpkin in water until soft. Drain and mash pumpkin and mix with sugar, walnuts and cinnamon. Lightly grease a suitable size baking tin and start with two layers of pastry brushed with butter. Then a layer of the pumkin mix then two more layers of buttered pastry. Continue layering until the last layer of pastry. Brush again with butter and bake for about 30 minutes until golden. Sprinkle with caster sugar and serve hot.
This is another bit of local colour that caught my eye in my wanderings. This woman was sweeping up the leaves along the kerb of the main Hristo Botev thoroughfare in the middle of the city. When she'd swept enough to make a pile she'd put down her traffic cone in front of the oncoming cars whilst she swept the leaves into her sack. Not something that you'd even dream of attempting in Sofia!
Bulgarians are particularly proud of their heritage and this street mural celebrates the 1300th anniversary of the establishment of the Bulgarian Nation in 681 AD by Khan Asparukh.
I'm not sure what street this was as I was just wandering when it caught my eye. It was only once I'd got back home that I found out what it was all about. The 1981 mural is obviously kept in good repair - good to see!
This is a festival that every summer in the midle of July ther are movies from different directors from all over the wourld.Very often the movies are perormansces.The films are shown in the summer cinema"Orpfeus"
The festival program includes folklore singing-and-dancing concerts, with the participation of individual performers and bands from Plovdiv and the Plovdiv region, as well as concerts of popular pop and rock groups and singers from all over the country. The open-air stage also hosts various chamber theatrical and puppet-show performances.
It will be the 17 th edition of that festival this year (2008). Bulgarian and foreign puppet performances with not more than three actors. Puppet theaters from many European countries ( Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Russia, France, Holland, Turkey, Poland, Slovakia, and others) participated in the festival with their performances. The festival is a contest – apart from the official jury, there also is a kid jury, giving its own separate award.-the second half of September.
The festival is organized on the basis of a mutual project with the Madrid International Mediterranean Theater Institute. Leading Bulgarian theaters present their current season’s performances, all the performances being united by a common topic. Theaters from many countries like Greece, Romania, Ukraine, Macedonia, Spain, UK, etc. have participated in that festival. The eminent Bulgarian actor Stefan Danailov is artistic manager of the festival. In 2002, for the very first time, a new theatrical form was presented – the so called “Street Theater" (open-air and street performances of sketches and grotesque plays).
The event was first organized in 2003. During the “ Plovdiv is Reading” Days publishing houses from all over Bulgaria present their production. Readings, book presentations, bazaars will be organized – located in the streets of Plovdiv as well as in the houses of the Old Town
I This is the oldest and only in its kind chamber music festival. It takes place since 1966, in the yard of the Ethnographic Museum in the Old Town. A proof for the international recognition of that festival is the participation of major performers, such as Ephra Neiman, Svyatoslav Richter, Danail Schafran, Alexis Veisenberg, Milcho Leviev, Mincho Minchev, Yuri Boukov, the Paris Chamber Orchestra, the Erfrut Orchestra, The English Symphony, London Serenade, the Schidloff Quartet, etc.(It's in yhe middle of June)
The event is held for the first time in 2004. The idea is presenting leading jazz performers and creators from all over Bulgaria. There is also foreign participation.The concerts are on the summer cinema"Orpheus".
It's in September.