March 10, 2014
Sofia, Bulgaria
A woman poses for a picture with the figures of Soviet soldiers at the base of the Soviet Army monument, parts of which have been painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag by an unknown person (via Reuters)

Sofia, Bulgaria

A woman poses for a picture with the figures of Soviet soldiers at the base of the Soviet Army monument, parts of which have been painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag by an unknown person (via Reuters)

February 21, 2014

99-Year Old Bulgarian Man Spent Decades Begging So He Can Donate To Churches

Meet Dobri Dobrev, aged 99, a Bulgarian WWII veteran who has lost his hearing during the war. He is known by the people as “Dyado Dobri” (Grandpa Dobri) who is always seen in the streets begging for money.

For several decades Dobrev has traveled on foot from his small home in the  village of Bajlovo all the way to the city of Sofia, roughly 25 kilometres daily, where he spends the whole day begging. People know him for his prostate gratitude towards those who drop coins into his box, ready to kiss a child’s hand with a smile, and an eagerness to talk to strangers about God. It has been like this for many years.

However it was discovered only recently that all the money Dobrev has collected over the years–around 78,000 lev ($50,000)–he donated for the restoration of churches and monasteries throughout Bulgaria. To the Church of St. Cyril and Methodius in Baylivi he gave 10,000 lev. He donated 25,000 lev to the Eleshnishkiya monastery and the church in Gorno Kamartsi. But his greatest contribution was at 35,000 lev offered to the temple-monument of St. Alexander Nevsky, the largest church in the country.

As for his own expenses, he manages to live with his 80 euros (roughly $100) pension he is given every month. He stitches his own clothes, makes handmade leather shoes, and survives eating just a piece of bread and a slice of tomato everyday. Church leaders visit him in his humble home offering new furniture and financial assistance, but he refuses everything. (via When On Earth)

February 11, 2014
Sofia, Bulgaria
Worshippers gather around candles stuck to jars with honey during a religious mass to mark Saint Haralampi’s day, the Orthodox patron saint of bee-keepers (via Guardian)

Sofia, Bulgaria

Worshippers gather around candles stuck to jars with honey during a religious mass to mark Saint Haralampi’s day, the Orthodox patron saint of bee-keepers (via Guardian)

January 15, 2014

Traditional Wedding in Bulgaria

Weddings in Ribnovo, Bulgaria, only take place during winter. The traditional white mask worn by the bride goes back centuries (via Guardian)

December 28, 2013
Sofia, Bulgaria
Leonsiya Dokuzova performs during a show at a circus. Dokuzova, who holds two jobs to supplement her income, works as a nurse in one of the biggest hospitals in Sofia, the Balkan country’s capital, and also as an acrobat, performing stunts in movies, TV shows and the circus. (via Reuters)

Sofia, Bulgaria

Leonsiya Dokuzova performs during a show at a circus. Dokuzova, who holds two jobs to supplement her income, works as a nurse in one of the biggest hospitals in Sofia, the Balkan country’s capital, and also as an acrobat, performing stunts in movies, TV shows and the circus. (via Reuters)

December 27, 2013
Restless Bulgarians Feel the Pull from Abroad
On the first day of 2014, nine European Union member states, including Germany, France, the Netherlands and Britain, will lift labor restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians. But already, skilled and even many unskilled laborers have found many waysto work in those countries. A look at income data shows why Bulgarians and Romanians might continue to seek greener pastures.
The wealthiest one-fifth of society in Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the European Union in 2007, have a lower median income than the poorest one-fifth of society in Britain, France, Germany or other wealthy European states, according to a review of income data obtained from Eurostat, the union’s statistics office.
Obviously, this does not necessarily mean that being poor in Britain, France or Germany is better than being in the top income bracket in Bulgaria or Romania: The cost of living is vastly lower in Sofia than in London.
But the lure of higher pay cannot be ignored when barriers come down, particularly as Bulgaria’s unemployment has increased sharply over the last half-decade. After bottoming out around 6 percent at the end of 2008, it has steadily risen to 13.2 percent in October. (via New York Times)

Restless Bulgarians Feel the Pull from Abroad

On the first day of 2014, nine European Union member states, including Germany, France, the Netherlands and Britain, will lift labor restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians. But already, skilled and even many unskilled laborers have found many waysto work in those countries. A look at income data shows why Bulgarians and Romanians might continue to seek greener pastures.

The wealthiest one-fifth of society in Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the European Union in 2007, have a lower median income than the poorest one-fifth of society in Britain, France, Germany or other wealthy European states, according to a review of income data obtained from Eurostat, the union’s statistics office.

Obviously, this does not necessarily mean that being poor in Britain, France or Germany is better than being in the top income bracket in Bulgaria or Romania: The cost of living is vastly lower in Sofia than in London.

But the lure of higher pay cannot be ignored when barriers come down, particularly as Bulgaria’s unemployment has increased sharply over the last half-decade. After bottoming out around 6 percent at the end of 2008, it has steadily risen to 13.2 percent in October. (via New York Times)

December 27, 2013
Sofia, Bulgaria
Bulgaria’s newly elected Orthodox church patriarch, Neophyte, leads the Christmas mass in the golden-domed Alexander Nevsky cathedral. Bulgaria, unlike some other fellow Orthodox countries, celebrates Christmas on 25 December (via Guardian)

Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s newly elected Orthodox church patriarch, Neophyte, leads the Christmas mass in the golden-domed Alexander Nevsky cathedral. Bulgaria, unlike some other fellow Orthodox countries, celebrates Christmas on 25 December (via Guardian)

December 24, 2013
Sofia, Bulgaria
A green sea cat monkey looks as if it is reading a book in its enclosure at Sofia Zoo (via Telegraph)

Sofia, Bulgaria

A green sea cat monkey looks as if it is reading a book in its enclosure at Sofia Zoo (via Telegraph)

January 22, 2013
Bulgaria Honors Midwife Day, Keeps Alive Purely Local Rites
Midwife Day or in Bulgarian Babin Den, is a purely Bulgarian holiday. The name Babin Den comes from the Bulgarian word “baba”, which means old woman or grandmother because in the past old women have been the village midwives, helping the younger ones to give birth. (Den means day in Bulgarian.)
Babin Den is a day to show respect and gratitude to those, who have helped women become mothers. The celebration has pagan roots, but has remained a significant holiday all through Bulgarian history, especially during the Bulgarian Renaissance.
On Babin Den, at dawn, mothers of toddlers and babies go to the village fountain to get fresh water. They take the water along with a bar of soap and a new towel to the midwife’s house to do a rite washing of her hands. The women hand the midwife the soap, help her wash her hands and offer her the towel as a gift. The midwife wipes her hands in the young women’s skirts so that they can bear many children and give birth easily.
The midwife also receives as gifts shirts and socks, which the mothers throw over her right shoulder. On her part, she gives the children she helped deliver a silver coin, socks and shirts. She also washes the children’s faces with the water, which once being used by the midwife, is believed to have purifying powers.
It was further believed that in order for the delivery to go without problems, the midwife needed to light a float light, close all the windows and untie everything in the house that was tied. The delivery itself was kept secret from everyone with the exception of the midwife and the mother-in-law. The new mother was not allowed to get out of bed or to stay alone until the child was baptized.
In the evening, all midwives sit down to a generous table. Men are not allowed to join the festivities and hardly would anyone dare breach the rule. (via Novinite.com)

Bulgaria Honors Midwife Day, Keeps Alive Purely Local Rites

Midwife Day or in Bulgarian Babin Den, is a purely Bulgarian holiday. The name Babin Den comes from the Bulgarian word “baba”, which means old woman or grandmother because in the past old women have been the village midwives, helping the younger ones to give birth. (Den means day in Bulgarian.)

Babin Den is a day to show respect and gratitude to those, who have helped women become mothers. The celebration has pagan roots, but has remained a significant holiday all through Bulgarian history, especially during the Bulgarian Renaissance.

On Babin Den, at dawn, mothers of toddlers and babies go to the village fountain to get fresh water. They take the water along with a bar of soap and a new towel to the midwife’s house to do a rite washing of her hands. The women hand the midwife the soap, help her wash her hands and offer her the towel as a gift. The midwife wipes her hands in the young women’s skirts so that they can bear many children and give birth easily.

The midwife also receives as gifts shirts and socks, which the mothers throw over her right shoulder. On her part, she gives the children she helped deliver a silver coin, socks and shirts. She also washes the children’s faces with the water, which once being used by the midwife, is believed to have purifying powers.

It was further believed that in order for the delivery to go without problems, the midwife needed to light a float light, close all the windows and untie everything in the house that was tied. The delivery itself was kept secret from everyone with the exception of the midwife and the mother-in-law. The new mother was not allowed to get out of bed or to stay alone until the child was baptized.

In the evening, all midwives sit down to a generous table. Men are not allowed to join the festivities and hardly would anyone dare breach the rule. (via Novinite.com)

October 16, 2012
Bulgaria’s Top Cop Urges Municipalities to Boost Roma Employment
Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has urged Bulgarian municipalities to enhance their efforts on Roma integration.
In a Monday interview, as cited by dnevnik.bg, Tsvetanov emphasized that local authorities had to develop EU funded projects for employment for the Roma community for the next programming period.
Tsvetanov, who heads the National Council for Co-operation on Ethnic and Integration Issues, took part in the eight meeting of local authorities taking place in Plovdiv.
He cited data of the National Statistical Institute indicating that Roma accounted for 4.9% of Bulgaria’s work-capable population, adding that the percentage would grow to 23% in 2020.
Bulgaria’s Interior Minister suggested that Roma integration would be a major concern for the next government. (via Novinite.com)

Bulgaria’s Top Cop Urges Municipalities to Boost Roma Employment

Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has urged Bulgarian municipalities to enhance their efforts on Roma integration.

In a Monday interview, as cited by dnevnik.bg, Tsvetanov emphasized that local authorities had to develop EU funded projects for employment for the Roma community for the next programming period.

Tsvetanov, who heads the National Council for Co-operation on Ethnic and Integration Issues, took part in the eight meeting of local authorities taking place in Plovdiv.

He cited data of the National Statistical Institute indicating that Roma accounted for 4.9% of Bulgaria’s work-capable population, adding that the percentage would grow to 23% in 2020.

Bulgaria’s Interior Minister suggested that Roma integration would be a major concern for the next government. (via Novinite.com)

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