March 3rd, some controversy, and the rest of the Bulgarian Holidays

Doncho
4 min readMar 4, 2023

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I’m considering starting a more regular blog about Bulgarian life as I see and experience it. It has to be regular to bring more value to its readers, but I suspect I’ll have difficulty putting daily “likable” stuff there. In any case, it looks like a good opportunity, a win-win scenario, which will allow me to blog (almost) daily, to do my 750words commitment, and to (maybe) bring some value to the Medium readers, who would appreciate it.

Of course, I will also publish all articles in my blog, just for backup’s sake. But my Medium will be the primary source, and the blog will be “a backup.” For all the other articles, it was the other way around.

I’m still looking for a fancy name for “the primary tagline” for these stories. So far, I have chosen “Bulgarian bits.” I had in mind some more: “Bulgarian life,” “Shopska salad” (if that’s new to you, you may find out later what’s about it), “yogurt drops,” (well, because, you know, the Bulgarian yogurt), and some more too, but won’t bother you with those.

I chose the most mundane one because it has two of the things (well, actually three), which I do care about:

1. It has “Bulgarian,” duh, because the posts will be about Bulgaria and about my experiences here (as a Bulgarian)

2. It has “bits,” which to me is one of the loveliest words in the English language because of its reference to both “small piece” and also it refers to a founding computer term (and I have loved computers for more than 40 years already)

3. My Bulgarian blog tagline is “Bits of life” (“Късчета живот”), and such a tag here would make it “compatible” with it.

So I decided to be dull and go with it.

However, even ChatGPT agreed with my tag so that it will stay for good:

In this context, “Bulgarian bits” might suggest that the blog posts are small pieces of information or insights about Bulgaria or Bulgarian culture, which have been organized and labeled for ease of navigation and searchability.

And here it is. The first “Bulgarian bits” piece is not much about Bulgaria so far. Let me fix this!

March 3rd: a reason for a good, long weekend

We’re approaching the end of a long weekend here. It started yesterday, March 3rd, one of the days which we recognize as National Holidays. This is a date, which from a historical perspective is nothing fancy, but on that date, the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire signed the San-Stefano treaty.

It was a peace treaty signed on March 3, 1878, after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878. The treaty was named after the village of San Stefano (now Yesilköy) in the outskirts of Constantinople (now Istanbul), where the treaty was signed.

Under the treaty’s terms, the Ottoman Empire recognized the independence of Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro and ceded territories to them. However, Bulgarians were also granted autonomy, although under the control and suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire.

I haven’t heard Serbia or Romania celebrate this day, even though they actually got their countries back. However, I understand them: they correctly accept this treaty as nothing less but the next Russian Empire’s attempt to establish dominance over the Balkans, this time at the Ottoman Empire’s expense and also at the expense of the nations mentioned in the treaty.

But in my country, there’re way too many Russophiles, which established that day to be a celebratory day starting in 1880. Communists, though, had better days to celebrate, so the “big-bang March 3rd celebration” was established by them (however, branded as “socialists” this time) almost immediately after they pretended to give power back to the people in 1989.

Thankfully, there are historically sane people in my country who know about the controversy above and believe that March 3rd should not be “the main country holiday.” I do agree with them, even though I enjoy the day off.

We’ve got much more important dates, which we could celebrate as our primary holiday.

The Unification Day, September 6th, is probably one of the biggest. On this day, the two pieces of Bulgaria, separated by the actual peace treaty after the Russian-Ottoman war, announced that they were becoming one country again, which helped to solidify our independence from Ottoman rule and establish our territorial boundaries.

Or maybe September 21st, our Independence Day, when, in 1908, we declared independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Or maybe even May 24th, the day when we celebrate the Cyrillic Alphabet.

But, for now, despite so many other more right and viable options, we will stick with March 3rd as our “primary holiday.” And I will tell you what we did during that long weekend tomorrow (or the day after).

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Doncho

Father, Developer, Engineer, Manager, Tech Junkie, Gamer, Ultracrepidarian.