Day of the Leaders of the Bulgarian National Revival

The National Revival is a period when Bulgarians gathered spiritual and intellectual strength to establish their right of independent political and social existence, and their own culture and education. Outstanding figures of the Bulgarian National Revival, most of them educated abroad, gradually arrived at the idea of opening a school of higher education, which “would make Bulgarians equal with other politically independent, socially organized and culturally emancipated nations”.
Bulgaria’s native culture is rich and ancient, but at one time, it seemed in danger of being lost forever. Bulgaria was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire for almost five centuries, and the Empire’s Turkish authorities suppressed any expression of unity or national pride by the Bulgarian people. Bulgaria had poor schools and no other institutions in place to protect and preserve its heritage. Under such conditions, the country’s traditional culture could not thrive.

That situation underwent a dramatic reversal during the period known as the Bulgarian National Revival. This cultural renaissance began in the 18th century and is divided into three stages: the early period, including the 18th century and the early part of the 19th century; the middle period, lasting from roughly the 1820s until the Crimean War, which ended in 1856; and the late period, dating from the Crimean War until Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, as a result of the Russo-Turkish War.
During the Revival, a number of well-educated Bulgarians made a conscious effort to awaken feelings of pride and unity among their countrymen, in part because they felt that such feelings were necessary if Bulgaria were ever to regain its freedom from Ottoman rule. They did this by working to develop Bulgarian literature that would call to mind past glories and hopes for a better future. They worked to establish modern schools, and within a few decades, 1,500 primary schools were in operation throughout the country. This, in turn, allowed more young Bulgarians to further their educations at the great universities of Europe and Russia. Within a short while, the country had a well-educated elite, which took control of the arts and newspapers in Bulgaria.

National pride and unity were greatly reinforced by these efforts, which are credited with paving the way to successful opposition to Ottoman rule. On November 1, Bulgaria celebrates a national holiday to honor and remember those visionaries who did so much to establish a sense of national pride and to lay the foundation for Bulgarian liberation. The holiday was declared official in 1922, but was suspended in 1945 after Bulgaria came under Communist rule, as part of the former Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, celebration was resumed in 1990 and made official again in 1995.

Across Bulgaria, Leaders of the Bulgarian National Revival Day (sometimes called National Enlighteners Day ) is an occasion to pay tribute to all those committed to culture and education. It is traditionally a day to give awards to outstanding teachers, actors, and artists of all sorts. Since the 1930s, it has been a tradition in cities and towns throughout the country to hold parades honoring students and teachers. In the capital city of Sofia, the parade progresses beneath huge portraits of those leaders who nourished Bulgaria’s cultural rebirth.

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Celebration of St. St. Kiril and Metodi Day

Dear fellow Bulgarian and American friends,

The church council of the Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church ” Sv.Sv.Kiril & Metodi ” is inviting you to celebrate May 24th – the day of Saints Kiril and Metodi and Bulgarian culture. The celebration will be held in Concord, California on Sunday – May 22 beginning at 1 PM.

The address is:

Concord Community Park – “SITE TWO” (in front of the pool) – located on the North side of Cowell Road near Babel line.

Come and enjoy Bulgarian food and delicious tutmanik made by Radka Ivanova. A jumping house, generously donated by Mario and Lisa Kovatchev, will be provided for the enjoyment of all children.

If you are willing to help with the organization or make donations of food and drinks, please contact us at

The celebration is part of the fund raising efforts of the church council. As we have previously announced we bought a property for the building. With the help of volunteers, we have already cleaned the lot and built new fence. This spring the remodeling of the property will begin. For this reason we will need building materials, such as beams, paint, nails, plywood, cement, tiles, doors, windows, sinks etc. We would like to encourage the Bulgarian community in the Bay area to make donations. Any amount will be greatly appreciated and the name of the sponsor will be entered in the “Golden Book of the Donors”. If you decide to help, please send your checks at:

Bulgarian Church
696 San Ramon Valley Blv.#254
Danville, Ca 94526

For more information please visit the church website:

SS Kiril & Metodi
Nastoiatelstvo na Bulgarskata zurkva

Published in: on May 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chestita Koleda and Happy New Year

Dear fellow Bulgarians and American friends,

We are very thankful to all of you who came at the Koleda celebration – and what a celebration! Thank you to Maria and Vassil Bebelekovi who along with Dan Auvil and Bill Cope sang and played tirelessly for hours!

We are grateful to “Antika Bulgaria” group with art director Tania Kostova for the Koleda songs and dances! The enthusiastic dancers and the little survakari showed that the Bulgarian spirituality is alive, thrives long way from Bulgaria and is readily embraced by the young generation of Bulgarians in America.

We want express our gratitude to our regular sponsor Hristo Kolev. Hristo can prepare for your party a big variety of Bulgarian delicacies – just call him at (925) 997 9779.

Thanks to Valentina Kazarova, Pasha Popova and Radka Djapunova for the donation of food and drink and for the financial donations of:

    The little survakar – Jessy Strenski Andrews who donated half of his money from survakane
    Daniela and Lubomir Tzonevi – $100
    Ivan and Valentina Kazarovi – $500
    Edi Lazarov – $500
    Hristo and Nadejda Ionchevi – $100
    Margarita and Todor Atanasovi – $ 200
    Valentin Dimchev and Zoia Serafimova – $120
    Rumen and Tania Shitsovi – $500

The collected funds will be used for the reconstruction of the church building. If you decide to make a contribution, please send your checks at:

SSKiril and Metodi
696 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #254
Danville, CA 94526

The donations are tax deductible.

For more information please visit:

We thank our contributors Kamelia and Dimitar Radevi from Draka Design Studio for hosting and updating the church web site and for the numerous pictures, which you can be seen at the link below:

We wish all of you Merry Christmas and Happy New 2011!

Published in: on December 14, 2010 at 7:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thank you to our sponsors!

Dear fellow Bulgarians,

We would like to express our profound gratitude to all of you who so far made donations for building of the fence of the church – any amount was greatly appreciated:

    Bruce and Susan Cogan – $10

    Krassimira and Kalin Grigorovi – $200

    Stilyana Salakova and Michael Cervantes – $50

    Logosol, Inc. – $1000

The first step – cleaning the property and building the fence has been completed successfully. All work was done by volunteers. The next step – will be restoring the electric system and renovation of the building. For this purpose we will need to pay for building permits and start collecting building materials – like plywood, dry walls, beams, paint, tiles, toilet bowl, sinks, electric wire and switches, windows, doors, cement, gutters, etc. If you can donate some of these materials, please contact us.

So far we had to pay $486 for electric and water permits and $366 for renting the garbage container. The fence is costing around $2400 – so if you can help with any donation – it will be greatly appreciated. The names of the donors will be put in the “Golden book of the donors” and the donations are tax deductible.

If you decide to help please sent your checks at:

SSKiril and Metodi Bulgarian Church
696 San Ramon Valley Blv.#340
Danville, Ca 94526

Published in: on October 19, 2010 at 8:33 am  Leave a Comment  

2 Divine Liturgies in Old Bulgarian (Church Slavic)

Holy Cross Orthodox Monastery will be celebrating 2 special Divine Liturgies in Old Bulgarian (Church Slavic) for our Bulgarian brothers and sisters, and all other Orthodox Christians and their friends, who wish to take part in these Liturgies on Sunday, August 1, 2010 (at 11:30 AM) and Sunday, August 15, 2010 (at 11:30 AM).

Dear Bulgarian brothers and sisters, all Orthodox Christians, and everyone who loves God and their neighbor – Come and see!

 Holy Cross Orthodox Monastery will be celebrating a special Divine Liturgy in Old Bulgarian (Church Slavic) on Sunday, August 1, 2010 in honor of the Procession of the Holy Cross.

The Monastery will be celebrating another special Divine Liturgy in Old Bulgarian (Church Slavic) on Sunday, August 15, 2010 in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God. These two Liturgies are being celebrated especially for our Bulgarian brothers and sisters, all other Orthodox Christians, and any of their friends who would like to join us in these services.

11:30 AM – Bulgarian Divine Liturgy will begin in the monastery’s church.
These spiritual events are sponsored by the monastic brotherhood of Holy Cross Orthodox Monastery.

No formal social event is planned after the Holy Liturgy; i.e., no food or beverages will be sold after Liturgy.

But you are welcome to stay after Liturgy and to bring your own food and refreshments to share with your friends and your brothers and sisters in Christ, while you enjoy the beauty of nature here at God’s holy monastery.

For Directions, see: Map and Directions

You can enter the monastery either:

    through its northern entrance (34580)
    through its southern entrance (34700)

A note about parking

Please, do not block our neighbors’ driveways and do not park vehicles up on the County road

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

24th of May Celebration

Dear fellow Bulgarians,

We are kindly inviting you  to celebrate  May 24th – the Day of Bulgarian Culture, Education and our patrons SS Kiril and Metodi. The celebration will take place in Newhall Park, Concord  beginning at 1 p.m. on May 30th, 2010

Please come and enjoy live music and  delicious Bulgarian food donated by our regular sponsor Hrisko Kolev and other church members. If you wish, you can help with donating food or drink.

Lunch – $10 – kebabcheta, salads, baklava, etc.

Alcoholic  drinks-  $3

Nonalcoholic drinks – $1

Radka will prepare her famously delicious Tutmank.

Dear fellow  Bulgarians  we would like to encourage you  to make a financial donation. Celebration is part of the efforts by the church council to raise funds for the reconstruction and remodeling of the church property that we bought last year. The names of the donors will put into the “Golden book of the donors”.If you decide to donate, please send your checks on address:

Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church

696 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #340

Danville, CA 94526

Thanks to the work of volunteers the church has its website,  the property was cleaned and plans for reconstruction are being prepared.

For more information please visit church website:

Access  to Newhall park is via Clayton Road, Treat Blvd., Ayers Rd. or from Turtle Creek Road

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

St. George’s Day – “Gergjovden”

GERGJOVDEN is a holiday in honor of St. George who is the patron of shepherds and herds. This holiday has a lot of rituals connected to various spheres of Bulgarian life. The typical cattle rituals are interwoven with rituals connected with agriculture, health and wellbeing. In the spring night before the holiday lasses and girls gather flowers and herbs from the fields for the ritual feeding of the sheep and cattle. Three wreaths are made from the flowers: one for the sheep that will be milked first, one for the lamb that will be given as a sacrifice for the saint and one for the bucket with milk in it. The homes and the cattle sheds are decorated with green spring leaves. The shepherds take the herds out for a grazing before sunrise and when they come back a ritual milking is performed.

A lamb is slaughtered on Gergjovden as a sacrifice to the patron saint. A big table for the whole village is set on the green fields in front of the churchyard, outside the village or near the cattle sheds. Other ritual meals are put on the table except for the roasted lamb. The Gergjovden bread has a special place on the table. In the Eastern parts of Bulgaria the young girls stand up next to the table so that the hemp goes tall.

The Gergjovden sacrifice: The first born male lamb is chosen for that ritual. They put a flower on it, a candle is put on the right horn and it id lit before the slaughtering. In Southern Bulgaria they slaughter the lamb in the garden under a fertile tree and they leave the blood to get soaked in the ground and in Western Bulgaria the slaughtering is done near a river where the blood runs out into the water. It is believed that the blood has protecting powers. They make a blood cross on the children’s forehead to keep the evil eyes away. The bones are gathered and are buried in an anthill after the holiday so that the sheep become as much as the ants or they are thrown away in the river so that the milk start running like water. The whole Gergjovden lamb is roasted and a green spray is put on it.

Gergjovden bread: Bogovitsa, kravaj, kolak, a loaf for St. George, Communion Bread, ovcharnik, koshara (cattle shed), baltak, etc. – the preparation takes part the previous day. They are mixed together with new leaven for the sheep to have more milk. The water needed for the kneading of the breads (mulchana (silent) or tsvetana (with flowers) – has flowers and herbs in it) is carried by a young bride. The woman that is kneading the bread is dressed in clean clothes and wears a bunch of flowers tied with a red thread.

Church Holiday: The martyr saint George the Conqueror is honored by Christians and Muslims. He was the son of rich Christian parents and he himself becomes a great adherent of Christianity. He was decapitated in 288 during the time of the emperor Diocletian. St. George becomes the patron of wars and the army. Folk legends describe St. George as a man fighting with dragons.

Ritual table: roasted lamb, ritual breads, fresh milk, cheese made from that milk, yogurt, a milk and rice desert, garlic, boiled wheat, pastry with butter, pork brawn and eggs.

Published in: on April 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bulgaria Celebrates March 3rd – National Liberation Day

The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 led to the re-establishment of a Bulgarian state as a constitutional monarchy in 1878, with the Treaty of San Stefano marking the birth of the Third Bulgarian State signed on March 3, 1878. The Peace Treaty of San Stefano marks the revival of the Bulgarian State, submerged under Ottoman rule since the end of 14th century. However, the actual live of independent Bulgaria started after the Berlin Congress, which took place a couple of months later in 1878.

By tradition on Bulgaria’s national holiday March 3 thousands of people went to the Shipka peak in Stara Planina mountain to honour the memory of Bulgarian volunteers and Russian soldiers, who fought for Bulgaria’s freedom. Throughout the day people of all generations, carrying national flag, were climbing the stairs to the monument, standing on top of the hill. Among the visitors were Bulgarian emigrants, who had come to spend the national day at Shipka peak.
On the occasion of Bulgaria’s national day president Georgi Parvanov has received congratulations from Russia’s president Dmitriy Medvedev, the British queen HM Elizabeth II, the Emir of Qatar and from the Pope Benedict XVI.

Bulgaria after the Treaty of San Stefano

Bulgaria after the Treaty of San Stefano

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 10:39 am  Leave a Comment  

March 3rd – Bulgarian Liberation Day

Dear fellow Bulgarians and American friends,

We are inviting you to celebrate Bulgarian National Holiday – March 3rd. The celebration will take place in “Touch of Europe”, 1880 Colfax St., Concord, CA 94520 on Saturday, March 6th 2010. The event will begin at 7PM

Please, come and enjoy Bulgarian music – a performance generously donated by the wonderful musicians Maria and Vasil Bebelekovi. Try tasty Bulgarian food – kebabcheta, tutmanik, baklava and much more – all donated by church members.

Dinner menu – $10

Alcoholic drinks – wine, whisky, vodka  –  $3

Non-alcoholic drinks  – $1

There will be a raffle with a lot of prizes and different designs of MARTENIZI for sale. Entry for the raffle – $5

If you are willing to help with organizing the celebration or making food and drinks, or items for the ruffle, please contact us.

The celebration is part of the fundraising efforts of the church council. As you already know we were able to purchase a property in Martinez. Fellow Bulgarian architect is donating his time and work in preparing the plans for remodeling the property into a church building. We will need to buy construction materials, paint, furniture, windows, doors, etc. For that, we would like to encourage all of you to make donations  – any amount will be greatly appreciated and your name will be entered in the “Golden Book of the Donors”. For more information, please visit the church website, which was donated by Kamelia and Dimitar Radevi

Published in: on February 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Trifon Zarezan

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church honors Sunday, February 1, the Day of Saint Trifon, patron of vine-growers, wine-producers and tavern-keepers.

The holiday is widely known in Bulgaria as Trifon Zarezan – from the Bulgarian verb “zarjazvam” meaning to prune vines.

Saint Trifon was born in 225 AD in the village of Kossada in Phrygia in Asia Minor. His parents were righteous people, who, from very early age, thought him love and devotion to God. Their efforts soon proved successful because Trifon began accomplishing miracles since childhood. He became famous at the age of 17 when he cured the daughter of the Roman Emperor Gordian. Unfortunately, Gordian was succeeded by Decius, who prosecuted Christians, and in 250 AD Trifon was arrested, tortured and decapitated.

In Bulgaria, the day of Saint Trifon was initially celebrated on February 14. Under the Communist regime, the Holiday was largely known as the “Day of the Vine-Grower”. In 1968, when the Bulgarian Orthodox Church introduced the Gregorian calendar, the Church began honoring Saint Trifon on February 1, while February 14 remained the vine-growers’ Day.

Many Bulgarians still continue to celebrate Trifon Zarezan on February 14 – one of the very few holidays to be still honored according to the old calendar. In recent years, Trifon Zarezan coincides with Saint Valentine’s Day – a holiday largely unknown in Bulgaria during the Communism, but acquiring greater and greater popularity.

Bulgarians celebrate Trifon Zarezan with folkloric rituals in vineyard villages throughout the country. The men set out to prune the vines while the women bake festive bread loaves and prepare roast chicken stuffed with rice. Each vine-grower leaves for the vineyard with the bread and the chicken in a new, colorful woven bag and with a vessel (buklitsa) filled with red wine. Before the pruning begins, men turn to the sun and make the sign of the cross three times. After the first three twigs are cut, they wash them with the red wine, holy water and wood ashes that they had kept since Christmas Eve. At the end of the day, everyone gathers together to eat, drink wine, sing and dance. The man who harvested most grapes in the year is appointed “King”. He and his subjects must traditionally get drunk to ensure a good harvest the following year.

There are many different folklore versions of the way this Day is celebrated in different parts of the country as well as many different legends about who Trifon was. However, ethnographers are unanimous that the celebrations are rooted in the ancient Dionysus festivities, celebrating Dionysus – the God of Wine, who was known to have thought people everywhere he went how to grow vines and make wine. The celebrations were accompanied by rampant outdoor games and parties.

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 1:19 am  Leave a Comment