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Bulgarian culture :

The culture of any place is obviously influenced by its history due to its location Bulgaria has seen many civilizations travel through its territory. Bulgaria has been part of many great empires and as a result it has assimilated the traditions of others into Bulgarian culture.For example Bulgaria is linked with both the legends of Dionysius and Orpheus and to this day festivities take place to celebrate these such as the Shrovetide and Mummers' Games which take their beginnings from the Dionysian festivals of the Thracians to mark the start of spring. Other such festivities are in existence in Bulgaria such as on the 1st of March, when the Bulgarians give each other 'martenitsas' - small figures made of white and red threads, a symbol of the awakening, of spring, health and happiness are hugely popular and loyally adhered too by all parts of the population.

Historically perhaps the greatest influence would be from the Turkish who have had a presence here since Byzantium times. There rule and influence over Bulgaria was only ended with Russian aid in 1878. The Turkish however did not seek to destroy either the Bulgarian language or its traditions which may explain why they are still adhered to. Preceding the 1878 revolution came an awakening of Bulgarian culture through literary icons such as Neofit Rilski, Hristo Botev and Ivan Vazov whose writings and actions led to their own executions and a revival of nationalism and patriotic fever. This period of cultural awakening is referred to as the Bulgarian enlightenment and there are many heroic figures with fascinating stories.

It is however May 24 that is celebrated as the Day Of Slavonic Alphabet, Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture. This day has been celebrated for 155 years now - no other holiday has been so long celebrated in Bulgarian late history. It's the holiday to celebrate spiritual rising, perfection striving for scientific and cultural achievements and particularly to celebrate the saint brothers Kiril and Methody who are credited with the creation of the Slavonic alphabets during the ninth century. The Cyrillic alphabet is still used to day by over two hundred million people. T Kiril and Methody are glorified on this day for the letters created by Kiril and Methody and their translations of the liturgical books.

Bulgarian folk songs and dances are another important part of Bulgarian culture. Folk music revolved primarily around holidays and feasts such as Christmas, midsummer as well as celebrations such as the Strandzha regions unusual Nestinarstvo rites ,in which villagers dance on hot coals. Mountainous regions such as the rhodopi are the home to indigenous instruments such as the gaida which is a bag pipe made from goat skin. A famous piece of music from this region , the ninth symphony, has even traveled aboard space craft as part of humanities message to other civilizations.

As with all countries separate regions manifest specific traits and if you have the time or the inclination there is a rich and diverse culture waiting for you in Bulgaria.