Friday, January 28, 2011

Dreaming of Spring in the Middle of Winter: Flowers in Bulgarian Folklore

Living in the deep freeze is not easy. The temperatures have been so cold recently that you can throw boiling water from a container and it will freeze before hitting the ground.

Not only has it been extremely cold, we have been doused with large quantities of snow every week! According to the statistics for this region, we have had at least 40 inches (a little over a meter) of snow during the month of January alone.

Since I hate winter and can't wait for it to end, today's post is about flowers, springtime and Bulgarian folklore. I am dreaming of spring in the middle of winter.

Here's one of my favorite folk-pop songs from Bulgaria, Biala Roza (white rose). The dance is a Devetorka. A white rose is beautiful and symbolizes innocence, but watch out for those thorns!

Are any of you old enough to remember the "flower children" from the 1960's? I think the Bulgarians were the original flower children judging from the number of videos I've seen with them wearing flowers in their hair. This little girl has one of the most amazing voices I've ever heard. She has flowers in her hair, and is wearing a traditional Bulgarian folk costume. And it's springtime....

Here is a dance-song called Karamfil (Carnation.) According to the song, the red carnation is the symbol of the rebel (haiduk) who leads the struggle against Ottoman Turkish rule, the mother of the partisans and the leader of the Slavs. He is a true son of the Balkans, born in the Valley of the Roses. For some reason, the Chinese love Bulgarian folk music. Must be that connection they have with the ancient Bulgarian calendar, which is the same as the Chinese zodiac!

The Year of the Rabbit is just around the corner. Click here to read about the ancient Bulgarian calendar and the Chinese zodiac:

The rose is the national flower and a symbol of Bulgaria. In spring, the Valley of the Roses comes alive with the color and fragrance of millions of flowers. The Rose Festival is held in June. Rose oil from Bulgaria is exported all over the world, to be used as an ingredient for perfumes. In this video, girls in traditional dress wear flowers in their hair. They're dancing a Pravo Horo, which is the one of the most popular dances in Bulgaria.

For more on the Rose Festival, click here:

Unfortunately, there's more than 6 more weeks of winter left.....but I can dream, can't I?

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  1. You just proved that Bulgarians are obsessed with flowers! That's why most of our female names are the names of flowers - Kamelia, Lilia, Roza, Tzveta (tzvete = flower), Kitka (another word for flower), and so on. Actually we call Palm Sunday "Flowerday" (Tzvetnitza), and we give flowers to all girls who bear the names of flowers.

    I wanted to show you a very special flower, which grows only in high mountains in Europe and Asia. It is called edelweiss and is on the emblem of the Bulgarian tourist association. We have only one kind of it (although there are about 20 kinds), and it grows in Pirin Moutain, Stara Planina, and some parts of Rila. The edelweiss is very rare and is in our book of endangered species, but we are very proud to have it. However, I don't remember any songs about it! Maybe you would know some!

  2. I love beautiful things, and flowers are beautiful. I especially love roses (my birth flower).

    The happiest time of year for me is when the crocuses start to bloom in front of my house, a sure sign of spring! This year, especially I am looking forward to the end of winter, because we've had so much snow and cold.

    I am familiar with the edelweiss from visits to Bavaria. I bought a dried one as a souvenir, and also own an edelweiss pin. (I've never heard any Bulgarian folk songs about edelweiss, but lots of German ones, and there is a very famous song about it from The Sound of Music.)