“Traditions” is a gallery of prose describing old Bulgarian customs that have survived until this day, and ethnic and confessional communities to be found here. It also includes unique photographs presenting the most picturesque customs and rituals selected from the classical folklore calendar of the Bulgarians and coming from Pirin, the Rhodope Mountains, the Black-Sea coast and Strandzha, practiced by Christians and Muslims, Bulgarians, Turks and Roma.
In “Traditions” contemporary Bulgarians can rediscover their identity through these ancient rituals, some in danger of falling into desuetude, and foreigners can experience the festive atmosphere of centuries-long traditions practiced by different religious and ethnic groups. The rapid historical development of Bulgaria – a country situated on the border between East and West – has given rise to a great variety of traditional activities on local and national holidays. Ancient pre-Christian traditions have interwoven with the culture of the founders of the Bulgarian state in the Early Middle Ages.
The collection presents illustrated stories about customs in different parts of the country that have survived since antiquity and are still respected. They have all been photographed in the locations concerned and catch the inimitable atmosphere of the particular celebration. Most of the ritual practices portrayed can only be seen in Bulgaria. These ancient customs remind the indigenous town dweller and foreign visitor alike of the mysticism of antiquity extant in our lands. Many such traditions, such as the fire-dancers’ oracular gifts, the Rhodope gelina (bride), the legend of the Cross of Christ saved by the monks of Rila, and the Muslims who honour icons and light candles are little known to the modern Bulgarian.
Institute for Culture organise mobile exposition in the framework of European Year of Intercultural Dialogue and presented it in three continents.