Help Local Communities of Ethnically and Religiously Mixed Area of Bulgaria Rediscover and Appreciate Their Common Roots & Heritage (March – May 2008)
Client: Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation as part of its campaign 1001 Actions for Dialogue
Objectives of the Project:
The dialog action included two events – one on national in Sofia and one on local level in Belitza town to present the traditional rituals for the celebration of St. George’s Day.
The event in Belitza became a festival for celebration of the ethnic and religious tolerance of the mixed Christian and Muslim local communities who live peacefully together for centuries. The local St George’s Day rituals in the two communities were presented by two groups of amateur performers from the village of Bachevo - with a Christian community (Razlog Municipality), and the village of Babiak - with a Muslim community (Belitsa Municipality). Those traditions have been preserved for ages and still practiced each year by Bulgarians, Pomaks, Turks and Roma in the region. The performers included preschool age kids to old grannies. The program included the rituals presentation as well as women singing from the Roma ethnic group as well.
The event in Sofia took place in the main hall of the Theology Faculty of Sofia University where the representatives of Razlog and Belitsa municipalities presented their traditional rituals again. The event in Sofia allowed the national public and media to get direct information and impressions of the religious and cultural traditions that are so well preserved and practiced by the local communities.
The project was implemented with the support of SIETAR Bulgaria, The Religious Matters Directorate to the Council of Ministers, the Community Cultural Centres (Chitalishta) in Belitza town and Babiak village and the local communities in Belitsa and Razlog municipalities.
The 1001 Actions for Dialogue campaign of Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean
Foundation run throughout 2008, which was designated as the Euro-Mediterranean
Year of Intercultural Dialogue by EC. The aims were to promote the role
of intercultural dialogue to: