Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bulgarian Day in San Francisco

Bulgarians in San Francisco?? Well ... yes, actually. There are about 10,000 Bulgarian Americans living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and yesterday a good number of them gathered at the Croatian American Cultural Center in San Francisco to celebrate Saints Kiril and Methody Bulgarian Festival with traditional music,  food, wine, and spring rituals.

Saints Kiril (also spelled Cyril) and Methody (also spelled Methodius and Metodi) are not household  names in the U.S. but they are in Bulgaria, and right that they should be. These brother-saints of the 9th century were giant intellectuals in the Slavonic Orthodox Church, but best known in the West for their invention (more or less) of the Cyrillic alphabet used in Bulgaria, Russia, and other Slavic countries.

Bulgarians honor Saints Kiril and Methody on May 24 as a day to celebrate culture, literature, and of course, the Cyrillic alphabet that bears Saint Cyril's name. Children pick flowers and make wreaths for adults, and sing the Anthem of Sts. Kiril and Methody.

Since 2001, Bulgarian American choreographer Tanya Kostova has brought this festival to San Francisco audiences. Flowers, Bulgarian food, Bulgarian wine, and Bulgarian music and dance round out the program. The day has always been a family day where multiple generations share festivities and speak Bulgarian, but this year especially the program focused on kids.Young folks enlivened the afternoon with traditional costumes, poetry recited in Bulgarian, by traditional flower garlands.

Adult entertainment was equally enjoyable with concerts by the Bay Area's Nesitinari Orchestra and the Petar Ralchev Quartet from Bulgaria. There are a number of samples of the quartet on YouTube, but here is my favorite of Petar's accordion work,
Here's a shout out to John Daley at the Croatian American Cultural Center, who produced the festival, and Tanya Kostova, mastermind and creative director. Stay tuned for next year; it will only get better.


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