Interesting Facts about Bulgaria
While researching “Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey,” we came across some interesting tidbits of information about Bulgaria and its inhabitants. Well, Anelia already new some of these, but they were all new to me. They made me say, “What? No way.” Some of these are incorporated into the story; others may be used in future novels as the journey continues.
The Cyrillic alphabet was invented by two Bulgarian monks. Bulgarians are proud of this fact, and get quite annoyed with the rest of the world for attributing the alphabet to Russians.
First electronic digital computer was invented by a Bulgarian-American. Yup. Those devices we can’t live without today started with John Atanasoff in the 1930s. Although Atanasoff was American-born, his father emigrated to America from Bulgaria.
Bulgarians created yogurt. Truly, they did. Way back in the time of the Thracians. I kid you not. You can find more than three hundred varieties in the country, and many popular dishes are made with yogurt.
Shaking one’s head in Bulgaria means “yes,” while nodding signifies “no.” Think of the nightmares that can cause. I read an article recently by someone travelling in Bulgaria who was approached by a gypsy. When the boy held out his hand for money, the man shook his head. This only encouraged the boy, who smiled eagerly. Believe me. It’s best not to tell a Bulgarian they have this backwards.
Bulgarians are more likely to celebrate their “name day” than their birthday. “Name day? What’s that?” you might ask. Originally, it was a feast day for a particular saint. So, anyone who had the same name, for example, “Maria” or “Mary,” would celebrate on August 15, the Assumption of Mary. Bulgarians have a lot of saints, so there is no shortage of days to celebrate name days. From what I could gather, way, way back, when people didn’t know what day they were born on (yup, I’m talking a long time ago), they took up this custom of celebrating the feast of the saints since they DID know their own names. So why not have a little fun to mark each passing year?
Bagpipes are played by Bulgarians. Nope, it’s not only done in the United Kingdom. The Bulgarian version is called a gaida.
Famous people with Bulgarian association: Mark Zuckerbuerg, creator of Facebook – his grandfather emigrated from Bulgaria in 1940. Tom Hanks, well-known actor - is married to a Bulgarian. Nina Dobrev, actress on “The Vampire Diaries” (well, maybe you don’t know her, but I like that TV series) - is a Bulgarian.
Those are a few of the things I learned about a country most Americans aren’t really even sure where it can be found. If you want to find out more about these people, their culture, and their beliefs, take a look at “Mystical Emona.” I hope you’ll find them as interesting as I did.
“Mystical Emona” was highlighted on October 9 at Boston University during an event called “Bulgarian Voices: Love, Light and Rituals.” It is also available on Amazon US and UK. In addition, we are working on a non-fiction book that will describe many of these Bulgarian customs and others in more detail, as well as their Thracian origins. Look for it in December.
Book available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mystical-Emona-Souls-Journey-Volume/dp/1500616974
Book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBQ7FJtb9vY