Bulgarian folklore, like the folklore of most countries, can be traced all the way back to the “ancient” times. It is an amalgamation of ancient beliefs and Christian theology, topped off with a pinch of “modern era” ideas. As all “folklore”, it changed as our people did. It evolved into what our people needed at the given period time. It did its part in preserving Bulgarians as a culture and a nation.
An Introduction to …Bulgarian folklore, like the folklore of most countries, can be traced all the way back to the “ancient” times. It is an amalgamation of ancient beliefs and Christian theology, topped off with a pinch of “modern era” ideas. As all “folklore”, it changed as our people did. It evolved into what our people needed at the given period time. It did its part in preserving Bulgarians as a culture and a nation. Hello everyone, and welcome to Bulgarian Steps very first blog post! Our website is dedicated to the preservation of Bulgarian Folk Dancing and the celebration of Bulgarian Folklore Traditions, and we’ll be posting blogs, related to both subjects. Bulgarian folklore is unique and very interesting. Bulgarian myths and legends are a place where ancient myths meet Christian archetypes, witty heroes trick nasty rulers, and mighty champions defeat various types of dragons. But, seeing as how this is our very first post, we’re going to take things slow. We’ll talk about the nature of folklore in general, and we’ll cover some of the notable parts of what is known about Bulgarian folk beliefs. And now, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
The term “folklore” stands for the collective body of cultural traditions, rites, rituals, celebrations and habits, exhibited by a people. The word itself comes from the combination of “folk” and “lore”, meaning “the wisdom of the people”.Generally, the folklore of a given group can be split into three separate types or “genres” – verbal, material and customary lore. In the “material” sense of things, folklore can relate to everything from outfits, toys and hairstyles, all the way to architecture. On the verbal side, it can be about speech patterns and specific sayings, to jokes, stories, myths, legends and songs. The custom aspect is probably the first thing that people think of when they hear “folklore” – traditional ways of performing specific actions, festivals, celebrations, rituals, and so on. As exciting as they are, most aspects of traditional folklore can seem somewhat redundant from a modern perspective. And indeed, a large portion of the traditional stories, myths, legends and customs are “way out there”. Most cultures had an abundance of rules and specific requirements, surrounding even the most mundane of everyday practices, for many of which there seems to be no practical explanation. Yet, even in the most far-fetched and mystical of stories, there is a grain of truth or some type of wisdom that we can extract. And, more often than not, it’s something straightforward, practical and down-to-earth, even though we’re applying it hundreds (or sometimes even thousands) of years later. Remember – science shows no significant changes in the average brain size or volume in the last few thousand years. Our ancestors weren’t really much “dumber” than us. They just didn’t know as much! They didn’t have access to modern science, universities or the Internet. They had to make do with what they understood and explain it in an interesting and memorable way. Furthermore, a lot of them couldn’t (or, depending on the location and period – didn’t want to) write down this “folk wisdom”. And so, it was transmitted primarily through word-of-mouth. But no matter how passionate or dedicated one is, there’s no way to prevent changes, additions or even misunderstandings with oral tradition. With every retelling, the folklore underwent slight alterations. Maybe the dragon was a bit bigger; maybe the champion was a bit smarter; perhaps the castle was actually a tower. This went on and on for hundreds of years, eventually resulting in the folklore that we have today.