Customs - Information about customs and traditions in Bulgaria.

Sourvakars – Boys going from house to house, wishing people a Happy New Year by slapping them ritually with an ornamented twig for health and prosperity.

Martyr Triffon Zarezan (Pruner) – Vine-dresses’ day – first pruning of the vines.

Saturday of Lazarus – Dancing to the accompaniment of ritual songs for the Day – a ritual dedicated to the fields, pastures, forests and young girls: Lazarki, performed for health, happiness and fertility.

Rose day – Celebrates the start of rose-picking.

Nestinars – A ritual dance on live coal (fire dancing).

Traditional folk fairs in Koprivshtitza, Shiroka Laka, Rozhen, Predela, as well as numerous festivals across the country, dedicated to folklore, and presenting authentic Bulgarian folklore.

Name Days are celebrated in addition to birthdays.

A Name Day is celebrated by people whose name is derived from that of a Saint's Day being celebrated. The person having a Name Day usually brings confectionery to the office for colleagues to share. Bulgarian tradition is that one may call uninvited on a person celebrating a Name Day, to wish them well.

Making a toast when drinking liquor.

When toasting, raise your glass and lightly clink it with all the others present, while looking the people with you in the eye (to not look them in the eye is rude) and saying, "naz drave" (good health to you). Repeat this with all present.

Wedding bands are worn on the right hand, not the left as in the West.

When Bulgarians nod their heads up and down, they mean NO. When they move their heads from side to side, they mean YES.

Smoking is common place in Bulgaria and non-smoking sections in restaurants are very rare. A new law is set to change this in 2005.

Tipping is now generally expected at between 10-15% of the bill. In any event don't always expect to get the exact change as often the bill is rounded up to the nearest complete unit of currency!

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