day of the alphabet

Posted by Daniela Elza on May 24 2014

In Bulgaria on this day people celebrate the alphabet, the written word. This might be one of my favourite celebrations, where I can celebrate fully without doubts or regrets.
Saints Cyril and Methodius are credited with giving us the Bulgarian Alphabet.

“In 863, they started their work among the Slavs, using Slavonic in the liturgy. They translated the Holy Scriptures into the language later known as Old Church Slavonic (or Old Bulgarian) and invented a Slavic alphabet based on Greek characters that in its final Cyrillic form is still in use as the alphabet for modern Russian and a number of other Slavic languages.” —Encyclopædia Britannica

At the History Museum in Sofia they have displayed it thus:

I could not help but notice the old old books and scripts, as we meandered through the historic artifacts in the History Museum, while in Sofia last week.

Religious text, closed book.

Below, a history book, documenting Bulgarian history between 811 and 1078 (transcript made during the first half of the 13th century AD).

a close up.

Boyana Psalter, 13th century. Found during restoration work in Boyana Church.

Islamic Service Book, 12th century.


Psalter of Bogidar Vukovich, 1520.

A poetry book by Bulgarian poet P. R. Slaveikov. Title: Slaveitche (Nightingale), printed in Plovdiv 1864.

On this recent trip to Bulgaria I was reminded all over again how much this holiday means to Bulgarians. I watched from the balcony of our apartment the children from the primary school rehearse for this day today. Reciting poem after poem, dancing dance after dance. Their beautiful and confident voices amplified by the microphone could be heard throughout the neighbourhood.
This was the view from the balcony.

and here is a close up.

I searched for the bolder which was brought down from the mountain and placed in one of the little green spaces downtown in memeory of Ivan Vazov (another very well known and respected Bulgarian writer), but I did not succeed to find it. Perhaps I should have not tried so hard and then I probably would have stumbled on it by accident, the way I encountered it the first time.

And of course, I had to make the pilgrimage to Slaveikov Square which is a square with lots of book stalls and has a monument of two Bulgarian writers (father and son) Petko and Pencho Slavelikov.

Happy May 24th. Recite some poetry, buy a book, share something you love of the printed word with someone. Whatever it is, let it celebrate words.

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