In the past couple of years I’ve done some traveling and met a lot of people from different cultures . We bulgarians definitely have unique traditions but there are some weird things we do in our daily routine . I have a lot of foreigner friends who live or study in my home city Sofia and they often ask me about things that we do and confuse them. So here are some typical bulgarian habits and superstitions that seem pretty normal to us.
1. Nodding . Is it a myth or reality that Bulgarians nod to say no and shake head to say yes?
Bulgarians shake their head side to side (much as other countries would shake for “no”) for agreement, and to say yes. For emphasis, you can say “dadadadadada” (yesyesyesyesyes) . Our gesture for “no” is not really the same as our gesture for “yes.” One should shake the head up once .. For emphasis, you can add a clicking sound with your mouth, or say “ne” (no) , which gives it the feeling of a denial. Also if a bulgarian says yes but pronounce it for too long , it means “No” or “I’m not sure” , or “I don’t care ” , or we simply don’t believe you … go figure. Daaaaaaa !
2.Cursing. We just love cursing , the situation we are in doesn’t matter. Cursing can be both positive or negative to us. If we are angry and upset we curse , if we are happy and excited we curse again. Just don’t get offended if you hear us curse.
3. We congratulate people for taking a bath or having a new haircut. I remember seeing a friend with new haircut and wanting to say ” chestita pricheska / happy new haircut” in english and stood in front of the person for minutes until I realised nobody actually does that in other countries , so just said”nice haircut” . And as it goes for the bath/shower part … I have no clue why we congratulate people for having good hygiene habits.
4.Celebrating . We like to party so most likely will celebrate anything. Have a new job? Let’s go have fun. Got your salary? Let’s party like we never did before. Passed the exam? Let’s drink about it. Didn’t pass your exam? Doesn’t matter we’ll drink so you won’t be sad . No wonders we havе ” Name day” and treat friends with chocolate candy . Also if you have a birthday , it’s a tradition to take your friends out or host a good party at your place . And yes , you are the one paying for everything in return your friends will buy you presents.
5.Being a guest at somebody’s house… you have to take your shoes off before you get in and your host will give you comfy slippers to walk around with. You will make a good impression if you bring wine ( or rakia! ) , bread , cheese or sweets ( pretty much anything that’s good for eating will do ) . It’s like a consuetude .
6. Food and beverage . We like dairy products a lot , so don’t be suprised that we add white cheese to almost everything we eat . Fries , salad , stew , a slice of bread with lyutenitsa or even a watermelon goes well with white cheese ! We like to make tarator which is a yogurt soup with cucumbers , maybe garlic too and dill . What goes best with our lunch or dinner though? Yes , rakia ! It’s our national alcoholic beverage . Rakia is the collective term for fruit brandy , the alcohol content of rakia is normally 40% ABV, but home-produced rakia can be stronger (typically 50% to 80% but going as high as 90% at times). Interesting thing is that if you go to a bar our small booze pour is 50ml and our large one is 100ml , plus bartenders like to give you a lil bit extra . Yep , we are cool like that !
7.We are narcissistic . Ever heard a bulgarian not mentioning our beautiful ladies ? Never ever. We consider ourselves pretty and handsome . Mothers often say about their kids ” my little raven is the prettiest” . Also looks matter here , some people like to dress up even when going to the shop for milk.
8.Superstitions. Damn , we do have a lot ! I will write down the most common ones ha ha. We have a lot of bad luck ones.
– If you’re having hiccups somebody is mentioning you.
– If you kill an ant it’s going to rain. If a spider crawls on you you’re going to get rich .If a ladybug lands on your showder you will get married.
– If your left hand is itchy you are going to get money , if the right one is itchy you are going to give money .
– If somebody jumps over you , you’ll stay short.
– If you leave your bag on the floor , you’ll become poor .
– If you sing while at the table , you’re going to marry a gypsy.
– If you walk under a ladder , it’s a bad luck.
– If someone sweeps dirt on you , it’s bad luck.
– If you break a mirror , it’s bad luck.
-If we buy a wallet for someone we put money inside of it as symbol of good fortune.
– We pour water in front of our doorstep for good luck in new ventures.
– Grannies pretend to spit on babies and little kids to wish them good luck and to be healthy. ( making a pu-pu sound)