Bulgarian Graduation Party - A Family Affair

I have just caught my breath from this last weekend where another celebration took place. The 24th May each year is a National celebration of Bulgaria’s education, culture and Slav letters (Cyrillic).

During this day all graduates of high schools around the country have an ‘American type’ ball where they join up with a partner and parade through a funnel of onlookers in every town and city centre on the way to a restaurant or function room for the graduation ball. This tradition has been around for many years, Galia remembers her day quite a few years ago; I’ve seen the pictures.

Bulgarian Graduation Party - A Family AffaIt all started a few weeks ago where Galia’s cousin was one of the graduates to parade on the day and she needed a ball dress. Needless to say this was women’s work so I left them to get on with the purchase, alterations and adjustments needed to make it perfect. It was a bit like she was getting married and this was the wedding dress what with all the fuss and commotion.

Bulgarian Graduation Party - A Family AffaThere was a party planned the Friday before Sunday and the big day, so to cut the cost a small area was borrowed from friend who owns one of the Internet Cafes in Yambol. All the food and drink was homemade including much produce from the factory farm and brought in to the caterpillar style table that was made up of a number of round tables. A laptop and hi-fi was brought in from home and turned into a DIY DJ system. The area that we sat in was on a first floor balcony overlooking the Tundzha River and an ideal setting on this particular warm balmy evening as the homemade Rakia and beer that was brought in began to flow. By the way the Rakia was very special, it was made by Galia’s brother was 17 years old and saved especially for this occasion.

The whole evening was a family celebration for the graduate who now was to go to University for five years after working through the summer break. Flowers were given to her from all the family guests arriving along with little money or jewellery pieces to those who could afford it.
Bulgarian Graduation Party - A Family AffaThen later that evening a speech and a composed peom recited from various family senior members complimenting the graduate giving a history of her excellent education and all wishing her good health, wealth happiness and luck for the future, oh and love of course!

Bulgarian Graduation Party - A Family AffaThen to top the evening off, a big decorated cake was presented sliced and eaten, very much like a single storey wedding cake. The graduate and a couple of other contemporary members of the family then left the party here to go to another party to meet friends somewhere else in the town centre and left the older family members to carry on where they left off - Eating, drinking, dancing, singing and of course talking. The younger family members were put in the Internet cafĂ© and play computer games unit the early hours of the morning. Everyone was happy and it didn’t cost much to set up!

My hangover was soon over the next day as an aspirin was taken and a drive to the village where there was two days of haymaking waiting for me. Then the trip back to Yambol for the 24th May celebrations and the city centre parade.
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