The positive effect of Bulgaria’s EU membership is undeniable. It has provided innumerable opportunities for young people for instance, regarding their education, skills etc. It gave them the opportunity to travel and explore new areas, make friends and learn. EU funds allowed students to travel and take part in international project, which was impossible prior to our EU membership. Travelling to other EU countries has broadened their minds thus making them more open, more tolerant and better educated. What’s more , due to the EU programs a lot of people gained higher qualifications and skills so that they can be job competitive and find better paid jobs in whatever country in the EU they want. The school has participated in Euroscola twice, and in Euronest Scola once. They have successfully finished around ten international projects visiting more than 20 countries in the EU and having partners and visits from different partners around Europe. Not to mention the fact that they have made and continue having so many friends from abroad which is an excellent way to practice foreign languages as well as learning to be tolerant and respect the different. This project participation was also possible due to the EU after meeting Evelyn in Euronest Scola. Thank you Evelyn! Thank you EU!
On the 1st of March Bulgarian people celebrate a traditional holiday called Baba Marta (or Grandma Marta in English) and it is related to welcoming the approaching spring. Peolpe all over the world meet spring with joy and new hopes but in Bulgaria it is saved as an ancient tradition.
On that day, Bulgarians exchange, so called “Martenitsi” (“Martenitsa” – singular, “Martenitsi” – plural) and tell each other, “Chestita Baba Marta!” (Happy Grandma Marta!). This custom is essentially to wish great health, good luck, and happiness to family and friends. The name “Martenitsa” is taken from the Bulgarian word for March, or, as a legend tells, an angry old lady called Grandma Marta – Baba Marta in Bulgarian (“baba” means grandmother and Marta comes from word “mart”, which means March in Bulgarian).
In Bulgarian folklore Baba Marta is a grumpy old woman who changes her mood very rapidly and it reflects in the changeable March weather. When she is smiling the weather is sunny and warm, but if she gets angry the cold will stay for longer and it may even snow. By wearing the red and white colors of the Martenitsa our predecessors asked Baba Marta for mercy. They hoped that it will make winter pass faster and bring spring.
The Martenitsa is made of twined red and white threads – woollen, silk, or cotton. The white is a symbol of strength, purity and happiness. The red is associated with health, blood, conception, and fertility.
The most typical Martenitsa represents two small wool dolls – Pizho and Penda. Pizho is the male doll, usually dominating in white color. Penda is the female doll, usually dominating in red color and distinguished by her skirt. There are many other variations and forms. Out of twined red and white threads are also made bracelets, necklaces, tassels, pompons, balls, squares, human or animal figures. Over the past several decades the tradition has been innovated by attaching all kinds of representations and symbols made of wood, leather, ceramics, metal foil to the thread-made martenitsas.
When someone gives you a Martenitsa you should wear it either pinned on your clothes, on the hand tied around the wrist, or around your neck until you see a stork, or a fruit tree in blossom for the first time in the season. After that you can tie it on a blossoming tree for fertility. It is believed that the Martenitsa bring health, happiness and longevity. Like kind of amulet, Martenitsa was attributed a magic power believed to protect folks from “ill fortune”, diseases and an evil eye.
The custom of wearing Martenitsa is probably one of the most interesting Bulgarian (pagan) tradition and it is considered to be unique to Bulgaria. According to one of the many legends, this tradition is also related to the founding of the Bulgarian state in 681 AD. Tedd has some on his wrist 🙂
Bulgaria’s Shopska Salad Most Liked by Europeans
White, green and red – the colors of the Bulgarian national flag are skillfully interweaving in the masterpiece of this country’s culinary art – the Shopska Salad, which has turned into a hit within the EU. The trademark of Bulgaria’s cuisine tops the rankings of national meals, organized by the European Parliament due to the EP election.
4 ripe tomatoes
2 long cucumbers
1 red or green pepper
1/3 bunch of parsley
2 tablespoons (olive) oil
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 cup (1/2 lb) Bulgarian cheese (or feta cheese)
Chop all tomatoes (we recommend leaving the pieces bigger), cucumbers and the pepper and put in a bowl.
Add the finely chopped onions and parsley. Sprinkle with the oil and vinegar and mix it all together. Grate the feta on top
Unfortunately sports are not very popular in the town, not because people don’t want to do sports but because of the lack of facilities. Yet, they do have handball teams for boys and girls ( boys are much better, though), football teams for students and the town’s team . They also have a cheerleaders team who perform during various celebrations. School gyms’ equipment is old and unreliable and students don’t enjoy their P.E classes. They sometimes play basketball or volleyball.
To compensate this lack, most young people, mostly boys, go to the town gyms, to build muscles and keep fit;also, they ride bikes or go for walks on the eco-path in the nearby forest. Dancing traditional dances is gaining popularity among people of all ages ,the dance called ‘Horo’ is very dynamic and is considered to be a very good way to keep fit. Here’s a link to one of the favourite for all dances.
A typical school day starts at 7.30. Students usually have 6 or 7 classes and each class lasts 40 or 45 minutes ( right now they are 40 min each) with a ten-minute break after every class and a thirty-minute long break after the second class. During the long break most students have their breakfast which they buy from the nearby shops or bring their own snack from home. The usual breakfast is a sandwich, a hamburger, pizza or the so called ‘banitsa’ ( it’s typical Bulgarian pastry-very delicious) Students, participants in this project, have 3 or 4 English classes a day, as it’s their Intensive English Year (18 English classes per week) Apart from English they also have Bulgarian Language, Maths, IT, Art, Music and P.E. classes. Other students study all the other subjects like Biology, Geography, Chemistry, History etc. Classes finish at 12.40 or 13.30 and students go home and do their homework in the afternoon. Students don’t have lunch at school.
I arrived in Kubrat on 16th May. It was a rainy day but it felt warm due to the cordial welcome of my new friends, the students from 8a, intensive English class in Hristo Botev secondary Schooland the school principal Mrs Tatyana Docheva.