If you are wondering why Bulgarians have so many holidays, just remember what we have already pointed out a million times – Bulgaria’s got extremely rich history and is full of fun-loving people. Quite simple, really.
First, let’s take a look at the national and official holidays celebrated in Bulgaria
3 March Liberation Day
1 January|New Year’s Day**
Movable Feast – March - May|Good Friday**
Movable Feast – March - May|Holy Saturday**
Movable Feast – March - May|Easter**
1 May|Labour Day**
6 May| Saint George’s Day (Gergyovden)**
24 May| St. Cyril and St. Methodius Day (Day of Bulgarian culture)**
6 September| Unification Day**
22 September| Independence Day**
1 November| Day of the Leaders of the Bulgarian National Revival (Den na narodnite buditeli)**
24 December| Christmas Eve**
25, 26 December| Christmas**
One peculiar thing you should know about these holidays is that when they fall on a Tuesday or a Thursday, for example, they are oftentimes merged with the preceding Monday or the following Friday so as to create a long weekend. Naturally, these are non-working days and all the administrative institutions are closed. However, 90% of the shops and supermarkets are open so you don’t have to worry about getting stuff like food or drinks.
That’s not all, though. There are also a bunch of other special days that add joy and colour to the bland and boring business week. Take the name days, for example.
The name days (имени дни in Bulgarian) are a typical Bulgarian tradition that has pretty much everything to do with Orthodox Christianity and the popular national custom of naming children after saints. It is celebrated by all the people bearing saints’ names…and their friends and families, of course.
Here is a list of some of the most popular name days in the country:
1 January - Vasilovden
6 January - Yordanovden
7 January - Ivanovden
14 February - St. Valentine’s Day
One week before Easter Tsvetnitsa (Flowerday) – celebrated by all those named after flowers
6 May - St. George’s Day
21 May - St. Constantine and St. Helena’s Day
29 June - Petrovden
17 September - Vyara, Nadezhda, Lyubov (Faith, Hope, Love)
6 December - St. Nicholas’s Day
27 December - Stefanovden
Important note: Guests tend to come uninvited on name days so be prepared for unexpected surprises.
Still not enough for you? Check out the rest of the holidays celebrated on the territory of Bulgaria then:
14 February - Trifon Zarezan – Day of Wine – celebrated together with St. Valentine’s Day
1 March - Martenitsa Day
8 March - Mother’s Day
1 April - April Fools’ Day
Of course everybody works on these days (bankers, lawyers, accountants, tellers and clerks included) but the atmosphere is always positive and friendly and the chores give way to joy.
On the Day of Wine, for instance, people tend to get a sip or two of the fine Bulgarian red wine together with their Valentines, while on the 1 March they exchange martenitsas.
Martenitsas are one of the truly unique Bulgarian traditions. They can best be described as little adornments made of red and white yarn that symbolise good health. According to the tradition, martenitsas should be worn until storks start appearing in the sky and then hung on the blooming branches of a fruit tree.
Needless to say, 8 March is all about women. That’s why don’t be surprised if you see hundreds of men and children buying nice bouquets for their wives, girlfriends and mothers on that day. For flowers seem to be the best gift for that occasion … if we don’t count the sports cars and diamond rings, of course.
April Fools’ Day. Well, you know how it is – pranks, tricks, practical jokes… you have all been there.