Bulgarian People and Culture

Bulgaria is a relatively young country, having gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. It is a parliamentary republic with free elections and universal adult suffrage. The chief of state is an elected president, and the head of government is a prime minister selected by the largest parliamentary group. A wide variety of political parties compete for seats in the National Assembly and elect local governments and other municipal authorities. Bulgaria is rich in mineral resources, especially lignite and anthracite coal; nonferrous ores (lead, zinc, copper and silver); and natural gas.

Family Composition and Education

In Bulgaria, families tend to consist of only a single child, which allows the parents to devote considerable resources and attention to their children’s well-being and education. If the parents work, their children go to state-run kindergartens or childcare centers and may also attend preschool in rural areas. Heavy-handed discipline is uncommon, but Bulgarians respect parental authority and expect that their children will defer to the parents’ decisions.

A typical main dish in Bulgaria is kofte, flat meatballs usually made from beef but sometimes veal or pork. They’re seasoned and often contain red pepper for added spice. Another popular meal is lozovi sarmi, which resembles a Nori seaweed-wrapped sushi roll but with the addition of fresh grape leaves. It can be vegetarian or filled with meat or both, and some versions include rice and kitchen herbs like black and red pepper.

The cuisine of Bulgaria has been influenced by the Ottomans, and many dishes share similarities with Middle Eastern cuisine. The country is renowned for its production of dairy products, wines and the alcoholic drink called rakia. Rakia is produced by distilling fermented fruits or wine, and the initial color of rakia is clear; it can be aged in barrels or mixed with herbs to produce more vibrant flavors.

The Bulgarian people are known for their hospitality, and a large part of the nation’s culture revolves around meals with friends or family. Bulgarians are very tactile, and touching is common in conversations. Eye contact is also important, although not as much as in the United States; it’s easier to tell if someone is lying when you can see their eyes. The Bulgarian language is closely related to the Slavic languages and is characterized by word order that’s subject-verb-object, although there are exceptions. Bulgarians also have a number of idioms and colloquial expressions. The most distinctive feature of the language is a distinct rhyming system with no alphabetic letters and an unusual syllable structure. The language has a reputation for being difficult to learn. In fact, many Bulgarians speak Russian in addition to their native bulgarian because of its simpler grammar and pronunciation. Nevertheless, there is hope for Bulgarians to preserve their own unique language. The Bulgarian Language Association has been established with the goal of preserving and teaching this beautiful, endangered language to future generations. Efforts are underway to create textbooks and teach Bulgarian in schools, universities and other public venues.