Customs and traditions
With regard to traditions and customs, Bulgaria has many similarities with the other Balkans and with other neighboring countries. Among the ethnic Bulgarians, many identify strongly with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, including as bearers of the country’s culture and language. According to Abbreviationfinder, the country also houses many other ethnic groups that partly have their own traditions.
People who are unfamiliar with each other often appear more formal than a Swede is used to. You address each other by title or Mr / Mrs and surname, and shake hands. Those who know each other well use first names, and men can embrace each other while women kiss on the cheek. You may want to maintain direct eye contact during a call.
- Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Bulgaria, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Ordinary main guests are in conflict with what is common in most of Europe – a nod means “no” and shaking their heads (sideways) means “yes”.
In a business context, punctuality is important. In social contexts, times are more flexible. If you are invited home to someone, it is advisable to bring a chocolate box or other sweets, or a bottle of wine or liquor. The idea is more important than value – you can avoid expensive gifts. Gifts that are wrapped are usually opened at once.
In formal invitations, it is advisable not to take more food than you can handle – it is a way to show appreciation for the food. Glass is refilled as soon as they are emptied, you do not want any more should you leave a little on the bottom.
The cuisine is typical of southeastern Europe. Bread is an important staple, as are milk products. Yogurt – kiselo mljako – has a central place, like the cheeses siren reminiscent of fat and hard cheese cassava, made from sheep’s milk. Salads are always included in the meals. Pork and lamb are common, and especially on the coast you eat a lot of fish. Banitsa is a type of pie that is often filled with cheese but can also be filled with meat, vegetables and sweet ingredients. The Bulgarians produce their own wine and there are many mineral water sources in the country. Fruit brandy, rakija, is considered a national drink here as well as in many other Balkan countries.
In connection with work, men usually dress in dark suits and women in relatively strict business attire.
The Liberation Day on March 3 celebrates Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, while Independence Day on September 22 is celebrated in memory of the actual independence of the Ottomans in 1908 (see also Ancient History).
According to Countryaah, May 6 is Saint Georg’s day when you also celebrate the Bulgarian army.
On May 24, Bulgarian culture and education, and Slavic writing, are celebrated on the day of Kyrillos and Methodius. They were Byzantine 800s missionaries and created the Cyrillic alphabet.
The unity day on September 6 is held in memory of Bulgaria’s association with Östrumelien1885. The leaders of the national awakening will be celebrated on November 1 – then honor all Bulgarians who are considered to have contributed to strengthening Bulgarian culture and the nation.
New Year’s Day is also a holiday, like May 1 and the same three Christmas days as in Sweden. The Orthodox Easter includes four days of varying dates.
Baba Marta (“Grandma March”) is celebrated on March 1 and is a pre-Christian spring party when people give each other martinitsas – bracelets made of red and white threads (it’s not a “red” day).
The road network in Bulgaria holds a fairly high standard. The main roads and railways have been maintained with international financial support.
Large parts of truck traffic between Europe and the Middle East pass through Bulgaria, which itself carries out extensive international freight traffic.
The first highway across the country – from Sofia to the coastal city of Burgas – was completed in 2013 after many years of delays.
The railway is state. Most major resorts can be reached by train, and there are also connections to all neighboring countries. Sofia has a subway and a tramway.
The Danube is an important shipping route, not least for trade with central Europe. The most important Danube ports are located in the cities of Ruse and Vidin. Burgas and Varna on the Black Sea are home ports for the large Bulgarian merchant fleet.
The former state-owned airline Bulgaria Air took over private ownership in 2006. Sofia, Burgas, Varna and Plovdiv have international airports. The latter two are mostly used for domestic flights and charter tourism.
The retirement age is gradually increased
Parliament is voting for a contentious reform that will gradually raise the retirement age;
Plevneliev wins presidential election
Gerb’s candidate Rosen Plevneliev wins the second round of the presidential election with 52.6 percent of the vote, against 47.4 percent for Socialist Party candidate Ivaljo Kalfin. Plevneliev has so far been Minister responsible for regional development and public works. In the first round of elections a week earlier, he received 40 percent of the vote compared to 29 percent for Kalfin. In third place came Meglena Kuneva, Bulgaria’s first EU Commissioner who was previously a member of NDSV. Parvanov, who has served two terms of office, was not allowed to stand. In the municipal elections held simultaneously with the presidential election, Gerb retains control in major cities, including Sofia and Burgas.
Hatehold outcomes against the Romans
Protests and attacks against Roma erupt after a 19-year-old was driven over by car and the blame was placed on a Roma with links to organized crime. Protesters claim that Roma receive privileges in taxes, social benefits and police operations.
Schengen entry is stopped
Finland and the Netherlands veto the admission of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Passport Union. They refer to problems with, among other things, corruption and organized crime. In June, the European Parliament had given the go-ahead to allow the new EU members to join.
Donations to the police are stopped
The government stops private donations to the police, following criticism in the EU Commission’s evaluation of Bulgaria’s fight against corruption. Some of the donations that the Ministry of the Interior has received have come from persons under legal investigation.
Explosion attacks against newspaper
An explosive charge explodes outside the opposition newspaper Galeria’s premises. Galeria has published documents that point to the irregularities of senior government officials, including Prime Minister Borisov. The day after the explosion, the head of the security service leaves.