February 10, 2013

0505 BULGARIA - The ethnographic map of the country

Located on the west coast of the Black Sea, Bulgaria occupies a portion of the eastern Balkans, with Romania to the north (the boundary being, in the most part, Danube River), Greece and Turkey to the south, and Serbia and Macedonia to the west. Its most notable topographical features are the Danubian Plain, the Balkan Mountains, the Thracian Plain, and the Rhodope Mountains. This territory was inhabited in antiquity by Thracian tribes, subjugated by Alexander the Great and later by the Roman Empire. From the 6th century, the Slavs gradually settled in the region, assimilating the Hellenised or Romanised Thracians. In the 7th century, Bulgar tribes (of central Asian Turkic origin) moved into the Balkans, and in the following centuries founded two empires (681-1018, 1185-1396), permanently squaring off the region with the Byzantine Empire. In the late 14th century, the Ottoman Turks conquered Bulgaria, possessing it until 1908.

In nowadays, the main ethnic group In Bulgaria are the Bulgarians (84.8 %), considered the descendants of three main tribal groups, which mixed themselves and formed a Slavic-speaking ethnicity: the Thraco-Romans, the Early Slavs, and the Bulgars. Of course that also the traditional Bulgarian culture contains mainly the heritage of these three branches, along with Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Persian and Celtic influences, and this is observed best in folk music (which contains Far Eastern, Oriental, medieval Eastern Orthodox and standard Western European tonalities and modes), but also in traditional costumes.

Each region of Bulgaria had its own costume with typical motifs, which transmitted a message about the families of those who wore them and the areas of the country where they lived. The costumes can be classified into several categories, although there were not strict boundaries to the occurrence of each costume type, and the styles of costume worn in each region changed over time due to fashion influences and population movements. They began to change during the national revival period in the 19th century, after this remaining relatively unchanged until rural depopulation in the mid 20th century.

The main categories of woman's dress are the single or double apron (bruchnik) costume, the closed tunic (soukman) costume and the open tunic (saya). All three types of costumes comprise a chemise (riza), apron(s) or a tunic and apron, a headdress, a belt, knitted socks and often a waistcoat or overcoat. Men's costume can be divided into two main types: belodreshnik (white dress - the older form of dress, considered to have Slavic origins), and chernodreshnik (black dress). Both types were worn with a white shirt (riza), a wide, brightly coloured sash (pojas), a hat made of black lambskin (kalpak), legwraps (navoi) or knitted socks, and leather peasant sandals (tsârvuli).

The costumes contain many elements from the pagan beliefs, and no one wore clothes with fully symmetrical decorations, because the Bulgarians believed that full symmetry was a diabolical creation. Therefore, elements were often added and removed, intentional mistakes in order to prevent the evil eye. Also they believed that cutting a part of the embroidery of one's garment would blaze a trail for the evil spirits and make the person vulnerable. Moreover, bulgarian women could embroider only until their wedding day - after that they were having the right to do it again only when their own daughter become 12 years and they need to learn how to do it. 

In the postcard are nine costumes from the main Bulgarian Regions:
1. Sofia Region
2. North-western Region
3. The Middle Danube Plain
4. North-eastern Region
5. Thracian Lowland
6. South-eastern Region
7. Eastern Region
8. South-western Region
9. Rodopi Disctrict

About the stamp: 

The stamp is one of a series of two, depicting flowers, designed by Maya Cholakova and issued on March 16, 2012. The first, with the value of 0.65 BGL (is on other postcard), was issued in 80,000 copies, and the second, with the value of 1.00 BGL (is on this postcard) was issued in only 60,000 copies.

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #109, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is Love, hearts, and flowers, in anticipation of Valentine's Day. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.

Bulgaria - Wikipedia
Bulgarian costume - Eliznik web pages

sender: Desislava Eneva (direct swap)
sent from Sofia (Bulgaria), on 29.06.2012

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