Traditional Calendar
Folk customs and feasts

Bulgaria is a country with centuries-long history and culture. Its geographic location - at the crossroads of two continents, is conducive to its role as a place for cultural exchanges of different people and nationalities. Here Christianity interlaces with the ancient pagan rituals left by the people that lived on these lands. Bulgaria is the motherland of some legendary heroes, well known throughout Europe. The mythical king Rhesus as described in Homer's works, participant in the Troyan war, was thracian king. The cult of Dyonisus, the Greek god of wine, vineyards and merriment comes from Asia Minor in Thrace. It was adopted from Greeks and later on from Romans too (under the name of Bachhus). Thrace is the native land of Orpheus, the greatest singer and poet of the ancient world, as well as the famous gladiator Spartacus, leader of the greatest slave rebellion in the Great Roman Empire (73 - 71 B.C.). Of Bulgarian descent are also the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, who gave to all Slav people their alphabet (Cyrilic alphabet) and who in 1980 were promulgated as co-patrons of Europe (along with St.Benedict) by pope John Paul II. To get acquainted with the Bulgarians and their way of life, you have to know their traditions and customs. To better understand how their society is organized, you have to look through their calendar of living.

The folk calendar is a system of organizing and identifying time within the year. It is usually made of several cycles, depending on the natural and economic circulation. Such scheme is also specific of the traditional economic calendar of the Bulgarians. Following the official adoption of the Christian religion and calendar, the division of the year in two seasons was determined by the feasts in honour of St. Demetrius and St. George. Thus the St. Demetrius Day (celebrated on October 26th) and St. George's Day (celebrated on May 6th) divide the year in two quite closed seasonal and labour cycles - winter/spring and summer/fall cycles. A famous saying in this regard is "St. George brings the summer and St. Demetrius the winter.

Customs and feasts in different regions of Bulgaria have their specific details, but all of them worship fertility, health and the eternal life cycle.