The Mysteries of the 7 Lakes

The Seven Rila Lakes, located in Rila mountain in Bulgaria are some of the most beautiful natural creations worldwide. Moreover, they are a spiritual place where people from all over the world come to enjoy the magnificent nature and the clean air, to get out of the big city or just to find piece and solitude. Many people come every year at the end of August to participate in the White Brotherhood’s celebrations in praise of the Sun, harmonious and healthy lifestyle and love between people. The sacred dance the Brotherhood performs called Paneurhythmy, is famous all over the world and wins more and more followers every year.

The Seven Rila Lakes are believed to be one of the strongest spiritual centres in the world, which is a portal for other dimensions.

The 7 Rila Lakes

The 7 Rila Lakes

The lakes are situated between 2,100 and 2,500 metres elevation above sea level. Each of them carries a unique name associated with the shape it has.

"The Tear" is the highest of the Seven Lakes

“The Tear” is the highest of the Seven Lakes

"The Eye"

“The Eye”

"The Kidney" is the lake with the steepest shores of the entire group

“The Kidney” is the lake with the steepest shores of the entire group

"The Twin"

“The Twin”

"The Trefoil" has an irregular shape

“The Trefoil” has an irregular shape

"The Fish Lake"

“The Fish Lake”

"The Low Lake" is the lowest one of the group

“The Low Lake” is the lowest one of the group

The Seven Rila Lakes enchant and inspire with their natural beauty and unusual energy. I’d recommend to everyone who has the opportunity to visit this piece of Heaven on Earth to do so without a doubt.

L. V. K.

Валери Петров – СТИХОВЕ

borisaprilov

СБОГУВАНЕ С МОРЕТО

Сбогом, мое море, сбогом, мое море!
Още топло е, още е лято,
но от час там над нас се върти, без да спре,
вече първото щърково ято.

То се сбира, разрежда се, дълго се вий
на различни въздушни етажи.
Сбогом мое море! Дойде време и ний
да събираме вече багажи.

А пък колко обичам те:нейде встрани,
не летовищно- диво и степно,
мое синьо море от детинските дни
до задъхване великолепно:

със чаршафа опънат, с дома от камъш,
със заритите в пясъка котви,
със варела ръждясал, със младия мъж,
който риба на спиртника готви,

и с момичето русо, което лежи
или иде във весела блуза
и вода във кесийка от найлон държи
като жива, прозрачна медуза.

Сбогом, мое море! Не е весел тоз час.
Даже просто ми иде да плача.
Този мъж не съм аз, този мъж не съм аз-
аз съм само зад тях минувача!

Боже мой…

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March, 1- the Bulgarian ancient tradition

Since today is 1st March, I think it is necessary to dedicate a post to this special day in the Bulgarian ancient culture. On 1st March, Bulgarians celebrate “Baba Marta” (meaning Grandma March), which is a welcoming custom of the upcoming spring. The tradition includes exchanging of “martenitzi” (plural) in the first days of March (especially on 1st).

Traditional Bulgarian Martenitza

Traditional Bulgarian Martenitza

The martenitza (sungular) is the symbol of Baba Marta and is always in red and white. It could be in the shape of a bracelet (red and white thread twisted together), a brooch (the typical one represents two dolls of a boy and a girl made of red and white yarn, called Pizho and Penda) or a necklet. The white colour symbolises purity and prosperity and the red symbolises blood, passion and life in general (red and white are also two of the three colours on the Bulgarian flag- White, Green, Red). The two together are heralds of the spring and are believed to bring health to the one wearing them. That is why people exchange martenitzi with their family, friends and those they feel close to. The martenitza should be worn until one sees a stork or a swallow and should then tie it to a blossoming tree.

Baba Marta

Baba Marta

Since I was a child Baba Marta has been one of my favourite traditions as I was awaking with a martenitza on my hand in the morning on 1st March. I was told that during the night Baba Marta came and tied martenitza on my hand so that I am rosy and smiling throughout the whole year. According to the belief, Baba Marta is an old, moody woman who is very good and hardworking, but very furious as well. She is changing her moods very rapidly, which is why Bulgarians believe the weather is so changeable in March- sometimes it’s sunny and warm (Baba Marta is smiling) and in the next minute it becomes windy and snowy (Baba Marta is angry). Due to this, the month of March is called the female month. According to my observations though, Baba Marta is always happy on 1st March as it is always sunny and warm, just like today.

The origin of the “martenitza” tradition dates back to 681AD during the time of the Bulgarian Khan Asparuh. The Khan’s sister, Huba, had a prophetic dream related to the pagan god Tangra so she secided to send a falcon to her brother with a sprig of dill (traditionally used in the sacrifical pyre for Tangra) and a white thread tied to its leg. However, the falcon was hit by an arrow, which didn’t kill it but coloured part of the thread red with blood. Despite the wound, the brave falcon reached the Khan who tied the thread to his hand. It is believed since then, the Bulgarians started wearing red and white threads, twisted together. During its 1300 years of existence, Bulgaria has shared lands with other countries, that is why some of them also hold the tradition (e.g. Greece, Romania, Macedonia etc.).

Traditions are very important for the survival of nations. Nowadays when everything is so blurred and people lack valuses and beliefs, some traditions help us to remember who we are. As Henry James says: “It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.” And our history is more than 1300 years old…

L. V. K.

The Apostle of Freedom

He came to this world to lead us to fight. Hanged he was, but never died…

During its 1300 years of existence, Bulgaria has born many worthy sons, but for me (and I believe for most of the Bulgarian nation) the greatest among them is undoubtedly Vasil Levski- The Apostle of Freedom, the holy person who gave his life for Mother Bulgaria. 18th February 2014 marks 141 years of his hanging in Sofia in 1873. Murdered for the crime of dreaming and fighting for an independent, sacred and holy republic with ethnic and religious equality.

vasil-levski

Vasil Levski

In 1396 The Bulgarian Empire was enslaved and became part of the Ottoman Empire and its people contemptuously called “rayah” (a non-Muslim subject of the Ottoman Empire) were treated as second-hand. They were living in fear of the Turks as professing the Orthodox Christianity, the Bulgarian folk (as well as the rest of the enslaved Balkan nations- Serbs, Greeks etc.) were considered infidels.  Normally, the Turks weren’t forcing the Bulgarians to change their religion; however, there were huge exceptions like the forceful islamisation of the Rhodopes (the topic will be covered in a later post).

This is just small part of the injustices, Levski was fighting against. I don’t blame the Ottoman Turks for the 500 years of slavery; I don’t hate them either. This is how the world was functioning back then- one is the enslaver the other is the enslaved; people were enslaving people all over the world. Nowadays, we should all forgive and forget and live together in peace and harmony no matter of religion or ethnicity. And these are the ideals Levski was fighting for.

levski-legiq

Vasil Levski in the First Bulgarian Legion

Born 18 July 1837 as Vasil Ivanov Kunchev, Levski lived an extraordinary life, even though a short one. As a young boy, he was sent as a servent to his uncle who was a monk in the Hilаndar Monastery. Later, after attending a clerical training course, Levski became a monk himslef. However, his rebellious heart couldn’t find peace, feeling that his mission in life was much greater. So he left the monsatery and went to Belgrade, Serbia to become a volunteer in the First Bulgarian Legion (a military detachment formed by Bulgarian volunteers and revolutionary workers seeking the overthrow of Ottoman rule). During his time in Serbia he earned his nickname Levski (meaning Leonine) due to his agility and courage ; according to the legend, he made a leonine leap during training.

Vasil Levski as standard-bearer

Vasil Levski as standard-bearer

Levski was very much involved in the work of the Legion; he was appointed standard-bearer of a revolutionary detachment led by Panayot Hitov, intending to invade Bulgaria and organise anti-Ottoman resistance. After skirmishings, the revolutionaries were forced to flee back to Serbia. Later on, drawing his conclusions, Levski realised the ineffectiveness of the external organisations of the Bulgarian emigrants and the need for an internal organisation. He undertook two majour tours across the Bulgarian lands acting as an ambassador for the idea of freedom and independence, trying to win compatriots to his mission. This is how he established the Internal Revolutionary Organisation (IRO), which mission was to prepare for a coordinated uprising.

The Apostle believed that Bulgaria should win its freedom alone, not counting on the help of external forces. I think he had two reasons for that: 1) Bulgaria would not be dependent on anyone else but its own people and would not allow external influence on its reforming as a country; and 2) Winning their freedom alone would mean people were ready to live as free nation and rule the country applying a completely new political system. Levski believed in freedom beyond its concept for that time- he dreamed of democratic republic with no more kings and sultans to rule upon people. He had very modern and futuristic political views; Levski didn’t want to expel the Turkish population from the Bulgarian lands, he just wanted to gain freedom and independence for Bulgaria and get rid of the sultan and the old norms.

To achieve his goals, Levski created a thick network inside the Bulgarian lands and established revolutionary committees in key towns and cities. He was a very important figure, a leader with inspirational personality and was considered very dangerous by the Ottoman Empire, therefore, he was hunted. However, Levski proved to be elusive by using different names, constantly changing his appearence, not staying too long at the same place. Unfortunately, after a mission of IRO, many of its participants were arrested and made full confessions. It is believed Levski was betrayed by someone who was close to him, and soon the Turkish police caught him.

The capture of Levski by the Turkish police

The capture of Levski by the Turkish police

He was taken to the city of Tarnovo for interrogation and after that to Sofia for the trial. On the way he was guarded by just a few zaptiehs (Turkish police officers), so it would have been very easy for his compatriots to save him. However, there was not even a single attempt for that from anyone. This remains one of the biggest sins of the Bulgarians, which I believe we are still repaying until nowadays. On the trial Levski confirmed his identity and insisted he was acting on his own. Despite the painful interrogation, he refused to reveal any of his accomplices or details related to his organisation, taking the entire burden on himself. Levski was sentenced to death and was hanged on 18th February 1873 in Sofia. The place he was burried remains one of the biggest misteries in the Bulgarian history.

Vasil Levski remains one of the brightest heroes and truest sons Bulgaria has had. He should serve as an example to the future generations and inspire people not only in Bulgaria but all over the world to fight for freedom!

L. V. K.