Sunday, January 26, 2014

Bulgarian Folk Music for the Year of the Horse 2014

"A horse is a horse, of course of course"
Lyrics to the Mr. Ed theme song

The Chinese New Year of the Horse begins in a few days, on the 31st of January, 2014.

The Chinese Zodiac assigns one animal per year (unlike the Western zodiac which assigns one animal or symbol per month).  The Chinese New Year goes by the moon instead of the sun and it falls on a different day each year when the sun and the moon are conjunct in the sign of Aquarius.

The horse also has significance in Bulgarian folklore;  and it is also one of the symbols on the Ancient Bulgarian Calendar.  The Ancient Bulgarian Calendar uses the same symbols as the Chinese Zodiac.

Today's post features a piece titled Horses of Fire Rachenitsa. Rachenitsa is a Bulgarian folk dance in 7/8 (slower) or 7/16 rhythm; it is the national dance of Bulgaria. This rendition is performed on a violin and an accordion, and it's very fast.

How many readers remember Mr. Ed, the talking horse from American TV during the 1960's? Those of you who are regular visitors to this blog know that I'm a fan of pop culture, and the old TV programs were so much better than the garbage being broadcast nowadays.

Just for fun, I'm including the theme song for the show.  (Don't mind the lion at the beginning of the video, he's just trying to get some attention.  He was born under the sign of Leo, anyway, and he's a big show-off.) The song is in 6/8, which just happens to be pravo rhythm. By the way, if anyone out there is inspired enough to create a Mr. Ed dance, please be sure to send me the video!

Happy New Year of the Horse!

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Folklore and Pop Culture (again!) Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Count Dracula, Transylvania, Sesame Street and Cereal

This Brings Out the Animal in Me:  Critters in Balkan Folk Music (written during the Year of the Rabbit)

Ten Reasons Why You Should Read My Blog (some shameless self-promotion :)

By the way the Madara Horseman, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bulgaria, is a rock carving of a man on a horse.  It is one of the symbols of Bulgaria.

For more on astrology, visit one of my favorite sites: Astrodienst, and for information on Chinese astrology, click here.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


  1. Hi ho,
    I LOVE The Alien Diaries! Thank you so much for all the work you do to keep them up to date! Also, Thank you for the Emails. I find everything you post to be so interesting. I have passed the URL along to many Balkan enthusiast friends. I can't remember how I first came across the site, probably on Facebook.
    The second kolo in the Serbian medley reminds me of the northern Greek dance Podarki! I guess the Vlachs made it there too!

    A couple of notes:
    In the Emails I don't seem to be getting the videos, only the dance notes. Fortunately, they do come up on your website.
    I appreciate the dance notes. It's sometimes amazing to read the notes written when the dance first came out and see how much the dance has evolved, sometimes from the teacher's faulty memory of it or lots of times due to laziness. One teacher in the group I go to, dumbs dances down so "more people will be able to do them". Even fairly easy ones that I recently taught and everyone could do. Frustrating!
    Also, on your website, the right side overlaps the left side so most times the full screen button of the videos is buried. It doesn't change when I use Control + to make it bigger.
    I use Firefox, not Internet Explorer.
    Here's a late 'Chestita, Baba Marta'.
    It's already spring where I live so it's time to put my Martenitsa out onto a fruit tree!
    Thanks a bunch,
    Karia (-;
    Keep on Dancin' and you'll never grow old!

    Dances with the Saanich International Dancers, Victoria BC

  2. Karia, thank you so much for your positive feedback. it was very much appreciated and it made my day!
    Thank you for the Baba Marta wishes. Since it's so cold where I live, the martenitsa is still on my wrist. I have given a few to friends as well. Spring seems to be a long time coming.
    I think the reason things appear the way they do in your e-mails and on the website has to do with your using Firefox as your browser. I write the blog on an old computer (5 years old) and use Internet Explorer 8, so everthing looks normal at my end :)

    I don't believe in dumbing down dances, so I totally agree with your point of view. Every dance is accessible once it's broken down into its components. Some take more practice than others.

    I learn by watching and don't use notes (YouTube is one of my best dance teachers) but I like the notes because they give the background on how the dances originated.

    Again, your feedback was much appreciated, and thank you for sending the link to my blog to your friends.