24-th of May is one of well known newest and most bright Bulgarian national feasts. 24th of May is officially one of the most light Bulgarian feasts and there is virtually no Bulgarian who doesn't connect this feast with Celebrations related to Bulgarian Cyrillic Alphabet and the Holy brothers st., st. CYRIL and METHODIUS as well as their 5 pupils , CLEMENT, NAHUM, GORAZD, ANGELARIUS, SAVVA – known here in Bulgaria as the 7-th Holy enlighteners of the Bulgarian lands. The alphabet invented by the 2 holy brothers was with the goal of translating the Holy Scriptures in understandable language to Slavonic tribes inhabiting (Great Moravia and Panonia) big part of Bulgarian lands as well as many other regions of Eastern Europe. Today the 2 holy brothers are righteously called "Apostles of the Slavs". The two brothers devised the most ancient form of a Cyrillic language (Glagolitic Alphabet / Glagolitsa – glagoliti means "to speak"), whose modified version the Cyrillic used to this very day in Slavonic part of Orthodox Eastern Church, which in practice nowadays makes up near half of the Eastern Orthodox Church Christian people (about 200 000 000 members) – from Bulgaria, Russia, Belarus, Serbia, Ukraine, Croatia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Czech, Slovakia, Slovenia
Page of Codex Zographensis nowadays kept in Bulgarian Zograf Monastery St. gt. martyr George
Glagolic alphabet consisted of 41 letters. Many of the letters were devised based on Greek, where others were created based on Latin, Arabic / Coptic, Hebrew and some other not still determined languages of the time.
According to some modern research 5 pupils of st. Cyril and Methodius – st. Clement,Nahum, Gorazd, Savva and Angelarius re-formed Glagolitsa and create Cyrillic alphabet used to these days among about 450 000 000 ppl around the world. Because Cyrillic was easier for writting with time last Glagolitic manuscripts started to disappear around the middle age XV-th century.
St. King Boris – The Baptizer of Bulgarian lands accepted st. Cyril and Methodius pupils and created 2 early Spiritual / Enlightenment Schools in Preslav and Ohrid. In this two spiritual centers many Church books were copied / transcribed. Many of the translations of Holy Scriptures and Living of the saints made in Preslav and Ohrid are nowadays influenced Church life in Russia, Serbia and Romania. Some of the original manuscripts produced in there are nowadays kept mainly in Russia and Serbia.
Celebrating of 24-th of May as a national and Church feast of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Bulgarian Culture started as such in the pre-liberation from Ottoman Turkish slavery period around y. 1852. According to some historical documents the feast was first celebrated on 22 of May in still "unliberated" Bulgarian Church (which at that time belongs to Greek Patriarchy). Initially the feast was celebrated on 11th of May as one feast both celebrated in Church and nation. Later after secularization period since 1969, two feasts developed one Church official in 11-th of May and one nationwide in 24-th of May. The feast 24-th of May is celebrated on this date since 1969. Today though Bulgarian Orthodox Church marks the remembrance of holy brothers st. Cyril and Methodius on 11-th of May. Every 24-th of May there is a Holy Liturgy served asking God to bless Bulgarian nation and grant us good nation health and success in all good knowledge. In relation to Bulgarian Liberation period, there was need for writing a secular Hymn for the feast. In City of Ruse in y. 1892 Stoyan Mihailovski then a teacher in High School writes a hymn which is well known and sign even by this day by Bulgarians – the infamous "Ð’ÑŠÑ€Ð²Ð¸ Ð½Ð°Ñ€Ð¾Ð´Ðµ Ð²ÑŠÐ·Ñ€Ð¾Ð´ÐµÐ½Ð¸" / "Walk straight, oh renewed nation".
On 24-th of May as an old tradition we in Bulgaria celebrate the Day of Slavonic/Slavic Writting and Culture.
It’s quite of feast, the streets are full of people and everybody wents out to celebrate or have a walk as the whole day atmosphere is extremely cheerful. Until some years during communism on 24th of may was also a Church feast day of st. Cyril and Methodius, however since some years the Bulgarian Orthodox Church decided to commemorate the two saints on a different date.
However the secular educational tradition of remembering the two saints memory on today’s date next to considering the holiday as the official feast of triumph of educational enlightenment and science is still alive in the primary and secondary schools. 24th of May is also considered as the official day of Bulgarian and Slavonic Writting and Culture. The two saints Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius are considered to be patron saints protector of all Schools, universities and educational institutions in Bulgaria. On this date it’s common that a bit of secular icon images of the two saints to be holded in a public schools manifestation, where specially dressed pupils play music with trombones and drums and all teachers and students does a manifestation lined in a column in the streets (this tradition is a hermitage from communistic times as manifestation on major celebrations were a common thing during the communism years, when Bulgaria was part of the USSR).
24th of May is considered maybe the brightest public feast in Bulgaria, even the secular atheist and unbelievers connect the day of 24th May celebrations with St. St. Cyril and Methodius who historically are the founders/inventors of the Slavonic writting letter and thus highly respected among all Orthodox Christian slavonic nations and as far as I know even are being known and venerated in some countries in the Roman Catholic western world (I’ll be glad to hear if some western people who are subscribed to my blog, give some reports if they know the two patron saints of Slavonic Culture.
Many cities in Bulgaria has an official local city feast on 24th of May. Dobrich my home city also marks off it’s public holiday on 24th of May.
Many small and middle sized villages also does celebrate heavily on this date, as the so called (people gatherings / (sbor as we call them in Bulgaria)) are occuring on this date. On this assemblies, where people goes out to buy stuff, we have a lot of gipsies who sell a various hand-made food as well some gipsies home-made children toys 🙂
It’s very pity I have no picture to show you what kind of bulk stuff the gipsies are selling via an improvised made kiosks especially for the fesat. The gipsies sales all kind of weird food especially for the holiday like, (pink ice-cream, all colors sugar-cotton and pink cream, pink sugar sticks (shiker as we call it) and a tons of other weird foods you cannot see anywhere else)). I’m quite convinced that every foreigner will truly enjoy this feast of ours and I recommend, if you’re about to come to Bulgaria to try to be in our country on this feast, it’s truly wild and natural as it is and always was in the bolkans ! 🙂 It’s also traditional on this date of triumph of culture that many cultural events around the country occurs, as well as the traditional folklore performers and dancers perform on the cities centres.
Horo (Bulgarian Traditional Folklore Dance on a city centre)
To generalize 24-th of May is our greatest and brightest holidays here in Bulgaria, there is some kind of established believe that on this date the weather is always nice. This year this national believe come true, as we have a wonderful sunny day here in Bulgaria :).
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