Moving to Bulgaria has become a very trendy thing for Brits and other expats to do. But, what can you really expect to find whilst living there? How do the people behave and will they really welcome you?
Today we’ll explore some of the customs and traditions new expats are likely to run into whilst living in Bulgaria. The country’s language does serve as a barrier to really acclimating in some cases, but many expats find plenty of English speakers and discover that the people are quite friendly and welcoming.
When living in Bulgaria there are a few things about the people you are soon to discover. Firstly, the Orthodox religion is very important to many residents here. Whilst many citizens are not overtly religious, they do tend to identify being Bulgarian with the religion. The church and common beliefs held Bulgarians together under many years of foreign rule.
Family is also a very important feature of Bulgarian life. In many cases you’re going to find that society tends to revolve around the extended family and that most families maintain very close ties.
As you meet new people and learn more about the Bulgarian culture, there are a few things to keep in mind. These include: –
Pride. Bulgarians tend to be very proud of their traditions, culture and heritage. Their love for it is reflected in everything from food and songs to dances and jewelry. Respect the culture, history and beliefs of the people and you will not offend your neighbours. Try to learn as much about it as possible.
Formalities. Bulgarians maintain a fairly formal culture. When meeting new people, address them with appropriate courtesy titles until told to do otherwise. Kisses and hugs are reserved for close friends and family – handshakes and eye contact are fine for all others. Once you are accepted into the culture, the formal curtain will drop. It just might take a little time.
Giving presents. Gift giving is an important part of culture, but it is wise to know the rules of the road. Do not give overly elaborate gifts. Keep the prices reasonable. When visiting a person’s home, bring flowers for the hostess and wine or spirits for the host. In most other cases, gift giving is reserved for births, birthdays and Christmas.
Dining. If you receive an invitation to a Bulgarian house for a meal, congratulations! You are well on your way to fitting in. Whilst dining, wait for the hostess to signal the time to start eating and do try to take two servings – this shows appreciation for the meal.
Living in Bulgaria is an experience that many Brits and other expats from all over the world are enjoying greatly. The culture here is a little different than in other locations, however. Learn to understand and respect it and you will find yourself welcomed.