Bulgarian Culture and Lifestyle


A member of the Balkan cuisine family, bulgarian dishes are not for the faint of heart. Whether you love savory soups like tarator and shkembe chorba, or prefer sweeter fare such as banitsa or garash cake, Bulgaria has something for every taste. Bulgarian cuisine is also known for its emphasis on vegetables, dairy products and wines.

A largely rural country, Bulgaria is home to more than 200 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These include the Thracian capital of Pautalia, the Thracian sanctuary at Rogozen and the Roman city complexes at Panagyurishte and Valchitran. Gold artifacts found throughout the country attest to a rich and diverse Thracian, Hellenistic and Roman culture.

The majority of the population in Bulgaria is Eastern Orthodox Christian with 59.4% of the population, although there are small communities of Muslims and Jews. Aside from religious faith, the Bulgarians are well-known for their strong traditions and dynamic lifestyle.

Bulgarians are renowned for their hospitality, and many of them will go out of their way to make visitors feel at home. Normal courtesies are observed when meeting people, and handshakes are the most common form of greeting. If invited to someone’s home, it is customary to bring a gift. A nod of the head means “No” while a shake of the head says “Yes.”

Family composition varies widely, but most Bulgarian families consist of parents and their married sons or daughters. Some families include grandparents. Children are expected to be involved in their parent’s careers, and their opinions may be sought when making household decisions. Teenagers typically receive allowances and may not be required to work outside the house, but part-time jobs are available if desired. Parents may choose to play a greater role in their child’s academic or extracurricular activities, or they may leave the decision-making up to the child.

The bulgarian language is a member of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European languages. It is closely related to the other Slavic languages and to Turkish, which it shares many roots with. The Bulgarian alphabet has 22 letters, of which 10 are vowels and 14 consonants. Bulgarian has four moods and uses an acute accent, a rounded accent, a tense accent and a grave accent. It also has several abstract particles to emphasize a statement or add a sense of urgency. Examples of these are kazhi mi, be – tell me (insistence); taka li, be? – is it so? (derisive); and vyarno li, be? – you don’t say!