Last modified: September 5, 2022

Bulgarian Language and Culture

St St Cyril and Methodius

Bulgarian Language

Bulgarian language and culture are an integral part of the European culture. Most important, Bulgarian language was the first Slavic language to appear in writing during the 9th century AD. The Glagolitic alphabet was the first Bulgarian alphabet. An early version of the Cyrillic alphabet gradually replaced the Glagolitic script over the following centuries.

Two brothers – St.St.Cyril and Methodius, invented the Slavonic alphabet in 865 A.D, in the time of the three-tongue dogma. It states that God could be worshiped only in Latin, Greek or Hebrew. These are the languages of the inscription on the cross that Pontius Pilate ordered to make. Cyril’s efforts to preach in a Slavic language was, for the time, an intellectual and political success in Europe.

So, Bulgarian language became the fourth literary language in Europe. And it is the first new language that was introduced in European culture and religion.

During the long period of Ottoman rule many Turkish words contributed to enriching Bulgarian language. Moreover, the language borrowed also from Latin, Greek, Russian, French , German and increasingly from English.

Bulgarian Culture

Bulgarian culture has a rich and century-old cultural history. With the adoption of Christianity in the 9th century, Bulgarian language and culture became an integral part of the European culture.  Some of the most important archaeological sites in Europe are located within Bulgaria’s borders with new discoveries still being made.

You will find the essence of the Bulgarian culture in the books, in museums, in opera and concert halls. You will only need some time and desire.

There are many sites in Bulgaria worth a visit. Nine of them are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Boyana Church, Rila monastery, Thracian Beehive Tomb in Kazanlak, Nesebar, Madara Horseman, Sveshtari Thracian Royal Tomb, Ivanovo Rock Churches, Natural Reserve “Srebarna” and Pirin National Park.

Cultural Traditions

You will find the essence of the Bulgarian culture in the books, in museums, in opera and concert halls. You will only need some time and desire.

Bulgaria has retained a great number of traditional celebrations. Almost every week there is a folklore or religious celebration taking place somewhere in Bulgaria.  The Orthodox Easter is the most special of all religious festivities. The painting of eggs tradition survived even during Communism.

Minorities in Bulgaria also celebrate their traditional holidays. Therefore the cultural events calendar is really rich.


LAZAROVDEN (St Lazarus’ Day)

Let’s start with Lazaritza – Saturday before Palm Sunday, a week before Easter. St. Lazarus’ Day is associated with the ritual “lazaruvane”. This is an old spring ritual for young girls, celebrating the waking of nature for a new life after the frosty winter. It holds an important place in the ritual systems of the patriarchal Bulgarian village.

In Thrace the girls perform the ritual on the next day – on Palm Sunday, and the Saturday is called “Gypsy Lazar”, because the houses are visited by small children and gypsies to collect small presents.  Old people believe that Lazarus is the master of woods and bushes and helps people clear them and turn them into plough land.

Traditional Holidays’ List

GERGIOVDEN – St. George’s  Day  on  May 6
ENYOVDEN (Enyo’s Day, Midsummer Day)  June
PREOBRAZHENIE (Transfiguration) July – August
KRASTOVDEN (Holy Cross Day) on September 14
VYARA, NADEZHDA, LYUBOV (Faith, Hope and Love) on September 17
DIMITROVDEN (St. Demetrius’ Day) on 26 October
NIKULDEN (St. Nicholas Day) on December 6
BADNI VECHER (Christmas Eve) on December 24
KOLEDA (Christmas) on December 25-27