Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Christmas, new years, and everything in between

okay, welcome back to my life in bulgaria! Happy new years ! (belated!) merry christmas (extremely belated!)

So in the days before christmas, everyone asked me how we celebrated christmas in the US, and how it was different from how it is celebrated in the BG...some what of a challenging question to answer, considering i hadn't seen a bulgarian christmas! but here are some of the differences and similarities;

*orthodox calandar, which means we celebrate christmas on the same day as bulgarians
*days off of work!

*Santa Clause's helpers aren't elves, its a beautiful girl in a tiarra and white dress named "Snow White," or снежанка (sneh zhan ka)
*Stockings are NOT hung by the chimney with care...bulgarians hadn't heard that we did this, and now think that I/we are strange
*Christmas Eve, бъдни вечер (buhd nee vecher) is considered the most family oriented holiday. No one can eat meat or meat products, and an ODD number of food items must be on the table
*one of these food items is a big round loaf of bread with a coin in it. each person takes a portion of the bread, and then searches for the coin- whoever finds it, has luck for the next year!
*presents are put under the Christmas tree, елха (elha)- but elha doesn't mean christmas tree- it means something entirely different, which I can't figure out

but perhaps one of the most glaring differences is that a lot of people don't get THAT excited about christmas. My host sister told me that traditionally, new years is a much more important holiday than christmas, and it hasn't been until recently that christmas has become more important. why, you might be asking yourself??? well again, thank you Communism. Under Communism, people weren't really allowed to practice their religions (even though most people were Christians, and Catholics at that...so its not like bulgarian religion was crazy or something), and in fact, a lot of people were persecuted for practicing. Comminists were big time athiests, so for about 50 years, people didn't celebrate christmas with much gusto, but rather, new years. Santa Clause was called "Grandfather frost" and presents were exchanged during the new year. so there you go...

another interesting thing about the holiday season is that you get to see Bulgarian superstition in action!! Bulgarians are highly superstitious (hence the odd number of food items on christmas eve and the coin in the bread). Another example is in holiday wishes. In the states, we say thinks like "happy holidays" "merry christmas" and "happy new year!" but that's all I think of. Here, however, there is a very specific and LONG wish that you extend to everyone- its this very set and formal response, and I believe that if you fail to recite these wishes, you are wishing bad luck on yourself, or something. so here, what you say is "I wish you health, luck, love and love." okay, so maybe that's not really so long or strange, but it is strange that every person tells you this, regardless of their affiliation with you!!!

okay, so other than that, I have recently been hanging with a girl here named Ogi who works for the local TV station. She used to speak really great english when she was in school, (and in fact, still does pretty well, i think) and she wants to learn more- so we've been hanging out, talking in some combination of english and bulgarian together. she's really cool, and we definately have a good time! Yesterday I met her family, which was also nice. I think her dad really took a shining to me b/c (a) I was excited to hear him play the accordian and (b) because my last name is german, and he in fact, speaks great german. anyway, I think i was adopted into the family because they kept talkinga bout all the things we are going to do in the summer!!!

alright, so i'm sure that's enough for everyone!!!!! I want to say a big THANKS!!!!! to david and jessica for their wonderful package that they sent to me- I had such a good time playing with all the random things you sent me!!!


At 1:15 PM, Blogger Александър Кирилов said...

http://akim.hit.bg - нещо по различно в кибер пространството


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