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Published: July 12th 2008
My host mom.
Life in a small southwest Bulgarian village is a novel concept for me. My host parents are both retired, collecting pension and have the largest house in the town. There is something to be said for this, for there is a sense of antagonism between others and my host mother, who was an art teacher and now does not work despite the measly sum of pension in this country. She also lives with my host dad though is not married to him. In Bulgaria, family relations are extremely important. For my host mom to fail in three marriages and currently attempt at a fourth relationship is food for fodder (that may be the wrong phrase, my English is failing me). Living in such an abode is strange largely because it is exactly what you imagine life to me - gossipy, simple yet somehow fulfilling nonetheless. The kids in the neighborhood befriended me during the first weekend I was here and them knowing where I live can be rather annoying at times. The doorbell never ceases to ring and though this is flattering, it is difficult coming to grasps with the idea that privacy in this country doesn't really exist.
My host dad.
of the first holidays I was able to tke part in is Easter (Villigden). Here, it lasts three days and though Bulgaria is rich in its traditions, it is similarly difficult finding someone who goes to church religiously. Consequently, the spaces for religious gatherings are not very large, services are rare, and churches are more akin to altars. Nonetheless, there are certain rituals and customs to be observed, such as the Easter greeting. "Hristos voskrece," "Ne istina voskrece." It is the only day of the year when good days and good mornings are not exchanged. The animal of feast during these holiday days is lamb and the slaughter is a public event displayed for all to see. Eggs are of course died, but must follow a certain sequence. A red egg is the first to be died and the remainder on a separate day. On Friday of the Easter holiday, Bulgarians go to church where they go under a bridge, listen to a sermon they don't understand, walk around the church at midlight with lit candles hoping they would not distinguish as such a symbol can mean bad luck for the year. But my favorite part of the holiday are
the egg fights. One must always carry around a died egg during the Easter holiday and when meeting a friend, should challenge them to an egg fight. The victor is the one whose egg remains intact.
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