Christmas in Bulgaria
Christmas in Bulgaria is a joyful holyday. Many people and children look forward to this celebration. It's one of the most favorite holidays for children because they get many presents. For adults, mothers, fathers and grandparents this celebration is time to visit their friends and families.
The night before Christmas in Bulgaria is called Bandi night. In this night all the family expects the birth of Jesus Christ.
Badni night in Bulgaria is celebrated with special traditions. A special tree in Bulgaria called Badnik is placed in the fire to burn all night on Christmas eve. It is intercepted by one man in the family.
On the table are placed three kinds of breads. The first one is dedicated for Christmas, the second one for village trade and the third one for Bulgarian Christmas singers, who visits all the families in the town, the village or the city. They are singing for good health and fortune in the family.
The table on Badni night should be generous but meals compulsory have to be odd numbered and meatless.
The traditions is to cook:
sarmi with rice
We put many nuts, honey, fruits, onion, wine, rakia - Bulgarian homemade strong alcohol on the table.
To rip bad spirits out of the house and garden, the oldest person in the Bulgarian family has to spread frankincense anywhere.
Badni night starts early and nobody can leave the table, only hauseholder can but he should leave stooping.
The table is not cleared after the dinner.
The next day is Christmas day. Everybody gets presents from the family or friends. Everything about us is beautiful, colorful and funny.
This holyday is one of our favorite because we are with our families.
About 30% of Bulgaria is mountainous. The country’s mountains are exceptionally diverse in relief and offer abundant options for relaxation, along with sports and entertainment for tourists, since conditions are exceptionally conducive for tourism in both winter and summer. The ski season in the medium high and the alpine resorts last about 130 days each year, while during the summer months enthusiasts may hike in centuries-old forests. The numerous hotels and the recreation centers provide accommodations for a wide variety of tastes and preferences.
There are well-marked hiking routes through Bulgaria’s mountains, such as the southern traverses of the Kom - Emine European trail E-3, the European trail Å-4, from Vitosha through Verila, Rila, and Pirin, and the European hiking route E-8, from Rila to the Rhodopes
The Balkan Mountains are the longest range in Bulgaria. They are also known simply as the Balkans, the source of the name for the entire peninsula. It divides the country into two parts – north and south. The Balkan Mountains are famous for their numerous mountain routes. The highest peak in The Balkans is Botev (2,376 meters above sea level). Excellent conditions for mountaineering, skiing, and spa tourism are to be found in Berkovitsa, Ribaritsa, Belogradchik, Beklemeto, Uzana, Karandila, Chiprovtsi, Varshets, Troyan, Teteven, Apriltsi, Tryavna, Elena, Kotel, Zheravna, Bozhentsi, and many other locations in the Balkanss. Tourists may also visit the monasteries located in the mountains – the strongholds of Bulgarian Orthodoxy. In close proximity and parallel to the Balkan Mountains lies the second longest mountain range in Bulgaria – the Sredna Gora.
The mountains Rila and Pirin are alpine, characterized by steep ridges, high peaks, deep valleys, and gorges. The highest peak in Bulgaria and on the Balkan Peninsula is located in the Rila Mountains – Mount Musala (2,925 m). Here is located one of Bulgaria’s landmarks – the seven glacial lakes that are located at an altitude of 2,095 m to 2,535 m. The largest resort in the Rila range is Borovets. It possesses excellent ski runs and mountain hotels. Unique opportunities for combining hiking, skiing and spa tourism are also offered in Panichishte and at Sapareva Banya. The ski centers of Malyovitsa, Semkovo and Govedartsi are also very popular with tourists.
More excellent opportunities for hiking and skiing are offered in the Pirin Mountains, widely admired for their alpine beauty. Here are located the resorts of Bansko, Dobrinishte, and Predela; along with the Popovi Livadi and Kamenitsa lodges, among other destinations. The resort of Bansko has developed into a resort of European and global importance, and during the past few years it has host a number of World Cup competitions in both alpine skiing and biathlon. It offers impressive ski runs, a plethora of hotels and pensions, and the renowned Pirin cuisine. Dobrinishte and the holiday complexes in the locality of Predela also offer opportunities for relaxation and many types of entertainment. The second highest peak in Bulgaria and the third on the Balkan Peninsula is also located in the Pirin range – Mount Vihren (2,914 meters above sea level). The national park Pirin is included in the UNESCO list of natural heritage sites.
The Rhodope Mountains, known as the home of Orpheus, is divided into the alpine western part and the lower eastern part. The highest resort here is Pamporovo, located in a densely forested area, boasting skiing that rivals Bulgaria’s other premier winter resorts.. Other options for recreation are to be found in nearby Chepelare, Yundola, Belmeken, Batak and Byala Cherkva. Tourists can enjoy the unique traditional architecture of the Rhodope villages Momchilovtsi, Gela, Dolen, Leshten, Kovachevitsa, Shiroka Laka, among many others, and sample traditional Rhodope dishes. The Rhodope Mountains are dotted with lodges that offer comfortable accommodations for hikers. The highest peak in the Rhodopes is Golyam Perelik (2,191 meters above sea level).
Mount Vitosha is located in close proximity to the nation’s capital, Sofia. With its beautiful natural setting and numerous well-marked hiking trails, and cultural landmarks, it is excellent for mountain ecotourism. The mountain also is the site of the oldest natural park on the Balkan Peninsula, the Vitosha Nature Reserve. There are two ski areas on the mountain, Aleko and Konyarnika, both of which offer excellent conditions for skiing and snowboarding during the winter months. The highest peak is Cherni Vrah (2,290 meters above sea level).
In the Osogovska Mountains there are also opportunities for skiing at “Lyudmil Yankov”, and in the northeastern part of the range is the ski area “Valchi Dol”. The highest peak in this region is Ruen (2,251 meters above sea level).
The Belasitsa Mountains offer exceptional mountain hiking. There are two lodges that welcome tourists. The highest peak is Radomir (2,029 meters above sea level).
Strandzha is distinct from the other Bulgarian mountains, since its peaks are much lower and its climate milder. Strandzha is home to a wide range of flora and fauna.
The mountains in Bulgaria are hospitable all year long, but it must be remembered added that in order to enjoy their beauty visitors need to come well prepared, which includes obtaining information about the routes they plan to use and the meteorological conditions. Visitors should also act responsibly, so as to preserve the pristine beauty of Bulgaria’s majestic mountains.
10 Amazing Things You Didn't Know About Bulgaria
Bulgaria? Why visit Bulgaria? Bulgaria is a beautiful country, with majestic mountains, sandy beaches, picturesque villages, good food, and hospitable people. And, it's incredibly affordable.
If you don't know anything about Bulgaria, here are ten reasons you should visit.
1. Roses - Bulgarian roses are not only stunningly beautiful, but a major export item as well. The petals reportedly produce as much as 85% of the world's rose oil, an essential ingredient in the production of perfumes. Gathering the roses is very labor intensive. Visit the country in May and June to see the colorful harvest.
2. Yogurt - The yogurt in Bulgaria is reportedly the best in the world, with a unique taste because the bacteria used to make it, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, is only found naturally in Bulgarian air. Try the thick sheep yogurt made in the mountains with honey or fruit jam dripped on top.
3. Nod - When asking a Bulgarian a question, you might be confused with his reply. In the country, nodding one's head up and down indicates a negative response, while shaking your head horizontally actually means 'no'. To confuse things even further, when locals speak with foreigners, they often accommodate them by reversing the motions. It is primarily the older generation that continues the nodding tradition, which dates back to Ottoman days.
4. Shopska - Considered the country's national dish, this simple salad is composed of diced garden tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, raw or roasted peppers, and topped with a sprinkling of Bulgarian white brine cheese. The dish is often decorated with parsley and a light dressing of sunflower oil and red wine vinegar. Shopska became popular during the communist era when it was promoted by Balkantourist, the state tourism agency.
5. Cyrillic - Bulgarians read and write using the Cyrillic alphabet, and the country actually is the origin of the alphabet, having adopted its use before Russia. Credit can be given to Saints Cyril and Methodius, born in the 9th century. The two brothers were Christian missionaries who used their alphabet in efforts to improve literacy among the Slavic pagans in the First Bulgarian Empire. The two brothers are the most celebrated saints in the Bulgarian Orthodox church.
6. Bulgarian Jews - Bulgaria sided with the Nazis in World War Two, yet its entire Jewish population, constituting over 40,000 citizens, was spared the horrors of the Holocaust. The Bulgarian Orthodox church, politicians and ordinary citizens took a stand against possible deportation. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for over 11,000 Jews deported to the concentration camps from Macedonia, an area under Bulgaria's control during the war.
7. Gold - The oldest gold treasure in the world was discovered at a burial site west of Varna, not far from the Black Sea. Unearthed in 1972 by a tractor crew digging a ditch, the site proved to be a vast necropolis with nearly 300 graves dated to 4560-4450 BC. Some three thousand gold artifacts were found, proving that the settlement had trade relations with distant lands and that the community had a strong belief in the afterlife. Some of Bulgaria's gold has been on exhibition tours around the world.
8. Rakia - This alcoholic beverage can be considered the country's national drink. Made from fermented fruit, rakia constitutes anywhere between 40% alcoholic content (when produced by a distillery) to 80% or more (when homemade). The drink can be made from pears, plums, grapes, peaches, apricots, or even from mixed fruits. Typically rakia is served at the start of a meal along with shopska. When drinking rakia, Bulgarians toast each other by clinking their glasses and saying 'Nazdrave' (To your health!). Make sure to make direct eye contact when doing this!
9. Bagpipes - Bulgarians take pride in their gaida, a bag typically made of sheep or goat hide connected to a three-section pipe, a shorter pipe, and a blowpipe. The Bulgarian bagpipe is called the kaba gaida, which is larger and with a lower pitch than the gaidas of other southeastern European countries. In May 2012, 333 Bulgarian bagpipe players played a 9-minute medley of folk songs, setting a world record in bagpipe performance recognized by the Guinness Book of Records.
10. Martenitsa - If you happen to be in Bulgaria on March 1st, join in the celebrations of Baba Marta (Grandmother March). On this holiday welcoming the upcoming spring, Bulgarians exchange small tassels and bracelets of white and red yarn called martenitsa. These adornments are pinned to clothing or worn around the wrist until the person sees a stork or blooms on tree, both harbingers of spring's arrival.
If these are not amazing enough reasons to visit Bulgaria, come to ski the slopes in winter or to relax on the sandy beaches in summer.
Marriage in Bulgaria. Documentation and Requirements for Marriage in Bulgaria
Understand the legal requirements for getting married in Bulgaria...
An application to marry is filed at the local Town Hall (îáùèíà) where one of the marrying parties is resident. This must be done at least 30 days prior to the chosen date for the civil ceremony. Both couples applying need not be present to make the application, however the identity cards of both are required.
The documents for civil marriage, required by both parties, are:
- Proof of identity
- Certificates of no Impediment to Marriage (äåêëàðàöèÿ, ÷å íå ñúùåñòâóâàò ïðè÷èíè çà âñòúïâàíå â áðàê) to prove that the person is free to marry
- Medical certificates (ìåäèöèíñêè ñâèäåòåëñòâà), valid for 30 days from the date of their issue. These are issued after a standard pre-marital medical check-up (èçñëåäâàíèÿ çà ñêëþ÷âàíå íà áðàê) which includes a blood test and may be done at any clinic in Bulgaria
The following additional documents may be required:
- If under 18 years of age, a permit from the regional court (ðàçðåøåíèå îò ðàéîííèÿ ñúä)
- If either party has previously been married, the final divorce decree (áðàêîðàçâîäíî ðåøåíèå) or death certificate of the former spouse if widowed
Additional documents may be required depending on the nationality of each of the future spouses:
Foreign citizens may need to make a statement in front of a consul at the Embassy of their country in Bulgaria, confirming that there are no legal impediments for them to marry. The Affidavit contains information such as the foreign citizen’s name, passport number, date and place of birth, as well as information about the future spouse.
Along with the Affidavit, the Embassy may issue the Certificate of No Impediment. However, if the person is not resident in Bulgaria, they should obtain the certificate from their home country.
All documents not in Bulgarian should be translated into Bulgarian by a sworn translator, and authenticated with an apostille by the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (some translation and certification/legalisation agencies take care of this process).
Some Embassies require that a Notice of Marriage is made at least three weeks prior to the marriage. Check with the relevant Consulate or Embassy in Bulgaria.