Sunday, 13 September 2015

Discover Bulgaria in the "Ark of Taste"

Ark of Taste is a project of the world-famous movement Slow Food. The catalog is a list of the unique, but threatened with extinction local foods, culinary practices, animal breeds and sorts of plants. Foods included in the list must be culturally or historically associated with a specific region, localion, socio-cultural community or traditional technology of production. Committee, chosen by Slow Food, selects the applications for the catalog. Ark of Taste is a direct analogy with Noah's ark. In the era of globalization, Ark of Taste aims to preserve the heritage of traditional local cultures in the world, which currently give way to Fast Food - fashion, mass production and patterns from advertisements and films. 

You are now able to visit the map of Bulgaria and to discover how abundant of meals our country is. All Bulgarian regions have unique animals, plants and know-how in preparation of food. 

Among the recipes in Ark of Taste there are two meals, already presented in this blog: How to make omach and Cheese from Chernichevo

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The fair in Stomanevo

Thanks to Mr. +Boyan Dobrev we can enjoy a lovely collection of photos from the traditional fair in the village of Stomonevo, in Bulgaria's Western Rhodope mountains.

Stomanevo is located in the municipality of Devin, and each year its traditional folk fair attract thousands of visitors. The population is dominantly Turkish, with Bulgarian minority (from so called Pomak ethnographic group).

You can see the beautiful clothing of the natives. It is very interesting that the local people preserved the ancient tradition of fire-dancing - Nestinarstvo.

Preparing the fire dance. 

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Tacuinum Sanitatis: A Medieval manual for a healthy way of life

In the Middle ages among the Europeans were popular so called Tacuinum Sanitatis: medieval handbooks on health and wellbeing, containing verified recommendations about the healthy lifestyle. 

Tacuinum Sanitatis philosophy was based on the belief that health depends on six elements: 
  1. Moderate use of food and drinks, 
  2. Fresh air, 
  3. Alternations of activity and rest, 
  4. Alternations of sleep and wakefulness,
  5. Correct use of elimination and retention of humors,  
  6. Regulation of the states of mind (moderating joy, anger, fear, and distress).

Tacuinum Sanitatis insisted that these elements are essential for well-being, so illnesses result from the imbalance of these elements. 

Here I present beautiful miniatures from various Tacuinum Sanitatis, made in 14th - 15th century. They originate from Italy and France, and have many in common with the traditional Bulgarian medieval life. For instance, production of honey and the use of garlic in everyday's meals was very typical Bulgarian practice. Well, we are all south-Europeans. There are many common traditions, adopted through the influence of the Roman empire, and many common fruits and vegetables, thanks to to similar climate conditions (the weather in Southern Bulgaria is like the weather in Northern Italy).  

Picking pomegranates.

Beehives and honey. 

Merchant of sugar. 
Harvesting garlic. 
Garlic farmer. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Garlic was an important ingredient in the diet of South-Europeans, including the peoples on the Balkans.

Picking plums.  
Harvesting pumpkins. 

Obviously, a townhouse and urban clothing

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Very interesting finding from the island of Kos

Today, while reading the latest edition of FEPTO NEWS (The Federation of European Psychodrama Training Organizations' newsletter), on page 28 I found that the forthcoming 5th International Sociodrama conference 2015 will be held on the Greek island of Kos, in the eastern Aegean sea. 

But what really stroke me was two pictures of traditional folk dances from the island of Kos. 

Two notes on these photos: 
1. The women's dressing is very similar to the Bulgarian women's garb. Especially the aprons are very similar to the aprons in some Bulgarian regions. The female jewelries are typical for the Balkans region too, as well the male's clothes which probably were influenced from the Ottomans. 
2. The way dancers hold their hands over one another is similar to the way some Bulgarians hold their hands. 

Lets compare:
14th century: medieval Bulgarian horo dancers - a fresco from the Tower of Hrelyo in Rila monastery, 1334-35.

21st century: Bulgarian amateur horo dancers from the town of Harmanli during their repetition, 2013. 

I decided to check out if really the local people of Kos dance in this way. In here is what I found:

Χοροί από Δωδεκάνησα

That's right! The people in the southeastern Aegean island of Kos, which stays just 2 miles from Bodrum and the Turkish coast, and about 350 miles from the Bulgarian lands, hold their hands one over another just like the people in Bulgaria. The melody and the steps of the dances are different, but the clothes of the women and the dancers' strain relief is the same!