The Culture, Traditions, and Heritage of Bulgaria
Bulgaria has significant influences over the Eastern Orthodox Slavic culture and literature. It served as a center of Slavic Europe in the Middle Ages with particular contributions of the Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools. Bulgaria founded the world’s second most-widely used alphabet in the world, the Cyrillic alphabet. The Greeks, Thracians, Slavs, Romans, and Bulgars have also influenced the Bulgarian civilization, history, and culture.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, Bulgaria has put up several individuals to the field of humanity including John Atanasoff (father of digital computer, Bulgarian descent and US citizen), world-renowned opera singers (Nicolai Ghiaurov, Raina Kabaivanska, Boris Christoff, Vesselina Kasarova, Ghena Dimitrova), pianist Alexis Weissenberg, and self-made artists (Pascin, Christo Yavashev, Vladimir Dimitrov).
Some of the nation’s folk dances include trite pati (line dance combined with rapid feet movement), pravo horo (features left-over-right arms and counter clockwise movement), shopsko (specifically for men, this dance is performed with drums and bagpipes during stage performances and exhibitions), paydushko horo (also a men’s dance), rachenitsa (quick-slow dance for singles or couples), and kopanista (line dances with complicated duplicating footwork).
Traditional events and customs also play important roles on Bulgarian culture. The first day of March is a traditional holiday, known as Baba Marta, and symbolizes the end of winter and beginning of spring. Other customary traditions include nestinari (barefoot dancing on smoldering coals), kukeri (a ritual to scare off the evil spirits and costumes worn are made of decorated wooden masks of animals and big bells), koleda (Slavic term for Christmas), and Bulgarian Name Days (St. Cyril, Vasil’s Day, Ivan’s Day, St. Georgi’s Day, Dimitar’s Day, Todor’s Day, St. Nick’s Day, St. Antoine).