About Bulgaria - ICNBulgarian National Culture
In Bulgaria the foreign tourists can get acquainted with original versatile culture that represents an organic entity of various ethnocultural communities - Proto-Bulgarians, Slavs and the ancient settlers on the Balkans, mainly Thracians. Some historical prerequisites account for cooperation and continuity - the traditions of assimilated earlier inhabitants of the Balkans underlie the Bulgarian culture.
Inherent in the Christian holidays and customs (Christmas, Shrovetide, Easter, Midsummer Day, Holy Cross Day, etc.) are different heathen rites and magic symbols. The pagan pantheon is related to the Christian saints - the Thracian Heros to St. George, the cult of Dionysis to St. Trifon, the Slavonic Perun to St. Elijan, the fire-dancing (dance over live coals) to St. Constantine. Even today an enormous treasure-trove of verbal, musical and decorative works is still kept.
The Bulgarian folk song embraces all spheres of life (field- and housework, customs) and contains traits of ancient heathen and Christian rites - images of supernatural creatures, legends of heroes - younaks and haidouts (Momchil, Krali Marko), of historical events. Predominantly monophonic, the Bulgarian folk song has preserved numerous ancient elements. This is a syncretic art form that originated from the cohesion of poetry and music and combined with dance, it is among the most ingenious in Europe.
The Bulgarian folk dances - horo - are performed by groups of participants clutching their hands in a row of ring, only the rachenitsa is an individual dance.
The way of life and aesthetics of the Bulgarian people can be traced in a miscellany of works by unknown masters. Supported by historical and archaeological data (memoirs of travellers, portraits of church-donors, archaeological finds) in the forms and the decorations of stone and metal articles, in ceramics and jewellery, church vessels, in the types of clothing one can trace traditional links with peoples that Bulgarians came into contact on the Balkans - the crossroad of the East and the West.
Thus the Bulgarian national costume (nosiya) bears elements, resulting from the influence of Thracian clothing (yamourlouk), of the national clothing from the Middle Ages, inherited by the Slavs (white shirt). Some of the ornaments (meander) have been adopted from ancient art, the one-apron and the double-apron dresses bear a number of common Slavonic elements. The adornments - earrings, prochelnik (diadem), rings, bracelets - have been a part of the costume since the remote past. Conquered by the Turks, the Bulgarians preserve the memory of the tsar's and the boyar's garments, and imitate their rich decoration, but instead of silk, golden threads and precious stones they use simple cloth, trimmed with embroidery, woolen braiding, beads and small coins.
Works of domestic crafts are the heavy thread loose weaves (fleecy and tufted rugs, carpets) miniature artistic textiles (aprons, pillow-cases, belts, crochet-works).
The crafts in which one can still trace the unbroken continuity of development are fretwork, pottery, goldsmith's, ironsmith's trade. These were mastered all over the country, but in the separate regions manifest specific traits.