Bulgarian Culture and Tradition

A country which has been part of the Roman Empire and later the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria is a predominantly eastern Christian nation. The Orthodox church has helped to retain a sense of Bulgarian identity and upon the fall of the Soviet Union and Communist rule it experienced something of a revival. Baptisms, church weddings and other religious activities have become more common.

The country is a multiparty parliamentary republic, with the president and prime minister elected by popular vote from among the members of the National Assembly, a unicameral parliament. Bulgaria has a constitution and a system of free elections with universal adult suffrage. The country is a member of the Council of Europe and the European Union, as well as a candidate for membership of NATO.

Bulgarians are a deeply patriotic people and they tend to be very proud of their culture and heritage. Legends and folklore are an important part of their lives and stories and traditions are passed down through generations. In most cases children are taught to respect and honour their elders. It is not uncommon for older relatives to take on the responsibility of looking after younger family members especially in economically insecure postsocialist times.

The family is the central social unit in Bulgaria and many households include extended families with several generations under the same roof. In such situations heavy-handed discipline is not common and parents are expected to be in control of household affairs. Men and women are equal in legal status, and both have the right to own property. However, women lag behind men in educational achievement and occupy leadership positions less frequently.

Traditional foods are an important part of bulgarian cuisine, for example tarator (cabbage soup), shkembe chorba (boiled beans with garlic and pepper), and zelevi sarma (stuffed cabbage leaves). In addition to being delicious these dishes have health benefits. They are high in protein, vitamins and minerals, and can help to boost your immune system.

The most prominent religion in Bulgaria is the Bulgarian Orthodox church which has played a key role in maintaining a strong sense of Bulgarian identity. Despite Communist attempts to suppress the church it was able to hold on and after the collapse of Communism religious holidays were reintroduced and baptisms and church weddings became more popular. In addition the church also plays a key part in society, helping with community issues and providing a moral compass for the nation. It is estimated that over 85% of the population are religious.