Ten reasons to love springtime in Bulgaria

Let us motivate you to get out and discover the beauty of spring

Written by Anna Kerezsi, edited by Andrea Vushkova, photos by Pixabay

Only a few days left and we can officially leave the cold and pale winter behind. Of course, the weather doesn’t always follow the calendar but it gives us hope and there are many interesting events happening to be excited for! I collected the 10 most important spring holidays and activities in Bulgaria. I hope you will learn something new and feel encouraged to explore and experience more things while living here.

1 March, celebrating Baba Marta and the first day of spring
Have you ever seen those red and white colored bracelets all around the bushes, trees, and fences in Bulgaria? If you want to keep your health and good luck, do not remove them! They are called Martenitsa and your friends and colleagues will tie them on your wrist on the first day of March.

You have to wear them until you see the first stork or swallow. It means that winter is finally gone, then you can tie your Martenitsa to the nearest blooming tree branch. But who is Baba Marta and how is she connected to this tradition? This article gives you all the answers. 

3 March, the Day of Liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Dominion
With the signing of the Russo-Turkish Peace Treaty in San Stefano on 3 March 1878, Bulgaria was freed from Ottoman oppression. This day has been an official holiday since 1988 and a national holiday since 1990. 

It is a non-working day with various nationwide commemorative events such as honoring the warriors who fought for Bulgaria’s independence at the Shipka Monument (the symbol of liberation), special sermons in the Orthodox churches, a solemn military service on the National Assembly Square near the Monument of the Tsar Liberator, and a flag-raising ceremony at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier. You will see happy families holding Bulgarian flags. It is a perfect day to walk around the city and enjoy the celebrations.

8 March, Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day
As in many other countries around the world, Bulgaria is celebrating our lovely, devoted mothers. They deserve a day when we pamper them, do the chores around the house, bring them colorful flowers and hand-made gifts, and show how much we love them. Don’t forget that this day is also to celebrate women all around the world. 

If you are in Sofia and are looking for some special, local presents for the beloved women in your life, I recommend you the best flower markets at the northern end of the Dimitar Petkov Market, and a lovely lady who makes colorful heart, and flower-shaped bonbons called Yummymommy. If you can’t get to these markets, don’t worry, hyacinths and tulips can be found on the streets everywhere, sold by locals on this colorful day!

1 April, the day of jokes and pranks
1 April is the International Day of Laughter, a celebration of fun and humor. On this day, it is customary to prank your friends and laugh a lot together. Here are some phrases you can use to trick your Bulgarian friends. Have you ever heard about the Museum House of Humour and Satire in Gabrovo? If not, 1 April is the perfect day to visit! People from Gabrovo have a reputation for being the biggest pranksters in Bulgaria.

22 - 25 April, the Orthodox Easter traditions in Bulgaria
Due to the fact that it’s a moving holiday, in 2022, the Orthodox Good Friday is on 22 April. It is one week later than the Catholic Easter this year. The week before Easter is very important. On Thursday Bulgarians paint eggs, and on Saturday they make Easter cakes (kozunak). At midnight on Sunday, they walk around the church three times with a lit candle and then take them home. 

On Easter Sunday they eat kozunak and roast lamb, and they challenge each other to an egg fight. Do you want to know more? Read our Easter article to find out more about the Bulgarian traditions for this holiday!

1 May, Labor Day
As in many countries, 1 May is the celebration of labor and workers. In Bulgaria it was first observed in 1890 and was officially declared a holiday in 1939. During the socialist rule here there was an annual parade of all the workers and children in each city in front of the local and national elite. People were marching with flowers and big portraits of Lenin and the Bulgarian socialist leaders. The most distinguished workers were given medals and awards. 

The Labor parade in Sofia was happening in front of the mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov, today’s Royal Palace and National Gallery. There are no grand celebrations nowadays but schools and workplaces are closed, so you are free to go outside and spend the day with your family and friends! 

6 May, Saint George’s day, the Day of the Bulgarian Army
Тhe legend of Saint George expresses the Christian conviction that faith eliminates the rule of demons and overcomes evil in all its forms. He is one of the most venerated soldier saints, patron of many countries, cities, universities, organizations, etc. There are many versions of his legend; Bulgarians have their own, you can read about it in this article. 6 May is the Day of the Bulgarian Army and there is a military parade every year in the center of Sofia. 

Along with that everyone with the name Georgi or Gergana celebrates their name day, usually with a roast lamb. In fact, this name day is the most celebrated. In 2021 they counted around 152,000 people called Georgi in Bulgaria! The next names are Ivan with 140,000 and Dimitar with 111,000. The three most popular female names are Maria with 107,000, followed by Ivanka with 52,000, and Elena with 50,000.

24 May, the Day of the Saint brothers Cyril and Methodius, the Bulgarian alphabet, enlightenment and culture, and Slavic literacy 
On this official holiday, Bulgarians celebrate the creation of the Cyrillic alphabet, and we thank the two brothers Cyril and Methodius. In 855 they created the Slavic-Bulgarian alphabet, called Glagolitsa. Later, these letters were simplified and improved, this newly created Cyrillic alphabet is what Bulgarians use today.

Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Belarus, and other countries also use these letters. If you are interested in more historical details, read this article. Do not forget to visit the St. St. Cyril and Methodius National Library in Sofia! Children will sing songs and put many beautiful flowers around the statue of the brothers.

Kukeri Festivals all around Bulgaria
Have you ever seen those massive hairy creatures marching, singing, and dancing all around Bulgaria? Do not worry at all, they are men dressed as scary as possible to chase away the evil spirits.

Their rituals may vary in different towns and villages, therefore it is highly recommended to visit more than one if you can. Some festivals have already finished, as they usually start at the end of January, but you still have a chance to watch them: the last one is going to be in April this year. Please find the list of festivals here.  

Enjoy the weather!
Last but not least, let me suggest some outdoor activities:
You can find the most accessible green areas in Sofia here and here.
What can be more romantic than watching the sunset after a warm spring day?
The best spots to watch birds migrate.
Chasing the most beautiful views of Sofia from rooftops.
We encourage you to go for a hike with our favorite hiking spots collection.
Discover the most beautiful streets in Sofia.

We wish you all a wonderful and unforgettable springtime in Bulgaria!

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