A celebration of Bulgarian culture impresses Peterborough

The Bulgarian Sunday School’Saint Ivan Rilsky‘ and the local Bulgarian Dance Club Chuzhdozemtsi (‘Strangers’) organized a joint event that showcased the strength of the Bulgarian community and the rich culture that contributes to the life of Peterborough.

The celebration marked three national holidays: March 1 or Baba Marta (Grandma Martha) is the time when all Bulgarians exchange white and red woven woolen threads also known as Martenitsa to wish each other health and as a sign of coming spring.

The martenitsa is a small adornment made of white and red yarn and usually in the form of two dolls, a white male (Pizho) and a red female (Penda). Bulgarians wear them on their coats or wrists from March 1st until they see a stork, swallow or flowering tree.

Bulgarians also celebrate their country’s Liberation Day on March 3 from the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria secured its liberation from the Empire in 1878 following continuous unrest and a long process of national renewal.

In addition to this, the joint event was organized to celebrate the International Women’s Day (March 8).

The room at the Herlington Community Center in Orton Malborne was too small to accommodate the 200 people who came to celebrate together.

Young students from all grades of the school delighted the audience by reciting poems commemorating the holidays and performing special national dances.

Moms were moved to tears as they listened to the sweet poems for Mother’s Day. Chuzhdozemtsi dressed in brightly colored national costumes, performed a collection of splendid Bulgarian chain dances known as horo.

The opening dance ‘Gaida avasi’ was an artistic depiction of chained slaves which later developed into a joyous ‘Malashevsko horo’ representing liberation.

The highlight of the group’s show was a unique dance to one of the most impressive rhythms – Chicovo horo from the northern region of Bulgaria (on the border with Romania).

The dance group had been training for several months to stage this superb composition and hope to perform at festivals and events in Peterborough.

The Bulgarian Sunday School Board said they would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the managers of the Herlington Community Center for kindly providing the venue for the event.

Helen D. Jessen