Bulgaria is a country of a diversified and cosmopolitan population. It is home to a large number of ethnic groups and minorities, including a substantial Turkish minority, Gypsies and Jewish communities.
The national language is Bulgarian, which is used for interaction with the authorities and in business, though most minorities are entitled to use their own language. The country’s media is mostly based in Bulgarian and broadcast in both languages, although there are also radio broadcasts and print media available in Turkish.
The verb system in Bulgarian is characterized by perfective (aorist) forms and imperfective (present) ones. The aorist form is used to indicate that the action has already taken place. The present form is used to express that the action is in progress, or will take place in the future.
There are four moods in Bulgarian – indicative, imperative, subjunctive and inferential. The indicative is usually used in formal writing, while the subjunctive and inferential are more common in spoken language.
Bulgarians are very friendly and approachable people, and will often be willing to help out with directions or translation if you need it. They will also be happy to answer questions about the country, their customs or traditions and will try to explain them in their own way.
Family and friends are an essential part of Bulgarian life, especially in the countryside where most people still live with their families. Families are very close and often many generations live under the same roof.
Despite the fact that Bulgaria has become an increasingly diverse society, it has maintained its strong ties to traditional values and culture, largely due to the role of the Church in retaining this identity after Ottoman and Communist rule. Religious holidays, baptisms and weddings are a big part of the social calendar.
Food & Drink
Bulgarian cuisine is generally vegetarian, but there are a few exceptions to this. For instance, the famous lukanka is a salami unique to Bulgaria and is made from a mixture of pork and veal with cumin, salt, and black pepper. Lukanka is eaten on its own or with a variety of different dishes.
Bulgaria is a country with plenty of fresh vegetables and a huge selection of salads. One popular hors d’oeuvre is the Russian salad which is made up of finely diced potatoes, carrots and peas with mayonnaise dressing. Another popular choice for a cold winter salad is a sauerkraut and marinated round peppers salad, which goes well with rakiya /local brandy/.
Yoghurt is a staple of Bulgarian diets and there are several different types to choose from. Kiselo mlyako is a high-quality yoghurt, which is very popular and is used for many things including making tarator.
Bread and pastry
The traditional Bulgarian bread is called banitsa, which translates to “little horse” or “horse patty”. Banitsa can be served hot or cold and is often eaten with plain yogurt, ayran or boza, a fermented beverage that is popular during breakfast.