The Day of the People's Awakeners
Every year, on November 1, Bulgaria celebrates the Day of the People's
Awakeners - an all-Bulgarian holiday, marking the work of the Bulgarian
educators, writers and revolutionaries - awakeners of the reviving
national spirit, striving for education and literature.
01/11/2020 | Published in Bulgarian traditions and celebrations
Every year, on November 1, Bulgaria celebrates the Day of the People's Awakeners - an all-Bulgarian holiday, marking the work of the Bulgarian educators, writers and revolutionaries - awakeners of the reviving national spirit, striving for education and literature.
How the holiday arises
The beginning of the XX century. The Bulgarian Tarot, who very recently rejected the Ottoman rule, is aware of the feat of the Revival educators and revolutionaries, whose work led the Bulgarian spirit to the determination to lead a struggle for national liberation. Many towns and villages want to give the deserved gratitude to the national awakeners not only by naming streets, community centers and schools after them.
At the beginning of the last century, on November 1 (in the old style) the Bulgarians celebrate the day of St. Ivan Rilski, considered the heavenly patron of the Bulgarian people and state. He has remained in the people's memory as a model of devotion, silverlessness, love of neighbor and fatherland. The people's love and respect for this saint remained alive during the centuries of Ottoman rule. Many other awakeners are worshiped, who the people canonize as saints in their historical memory.
In 1922 Stoyan Omarchevski - Minister of Public Education in the government of Alexander Stamboliiski, on the initiative of a group of intellectuals - Stanimir Stanimirov, Alexander Radoslavov, Dimitar Lazov, Prof. Benyo Tsonev, Ivan Vazov, Prof. Lubomir Miletich, Dr. Mihail Arnaudov , Dr. Phil. Manolov, Hristo Tsankov - Derizhan, Prof. Ivan Georgov, Stilian Chilingirov, Adriana Budevska and Elena Snezhina, submitted a proposal to the Council of Ministers for the designation of November 1 as the Day of the Bulgarian National Awakeners. (When the Gregorian calendar was established as the state calendar in 1916, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian calendar until 1968. October 19, the day on which St. John of Rila the Wonderworker is celebrated, became November 1 according to the new calendar.)
The same year, November 1 was declared the Day of the People's Awakeners and a national holiday of Bulgaria. Three years after the signing of the Neuilly Treaty, Bulgarian society felt an urgent need for spiritual stimuli and found them in the legacy of ideas of the wisest Bulgarians.
Here is the proclamation for the Day of the People's Awakeners:
"Let the Day of St. John of Rila become the Day of the People's Awakeners, a holiday of the great Bulgarians, in order to awaken in the young people a common sense of existence and interest in the figures of our past."
Cancellation of the holiday during the communist regime and subsequent restoration
In 1945, the celebration of the holiday was abolished by the communist regime. The ban is part of the systematically imposed propaganda and censorship, characteristic of the entire period of totalitarian rule in Bulgaria. Nevertheless, the tradition remains preserved in the memory of the Bulgarian people. In many villages in Bulgaria this day is celebrated unofficially: for example in the area of the town of Pirdop on this day primary school students make lanterns with letters of the Bulgarian alphabet, illuminated from the inside, and parade in front of the public, dressed solemnly, in many cases in traditional costumes. .
After a long break on October 28, 1992, the tradition of the holiday is resumed. November 1 has been officially declared the Day of the People's Awakeners and a day of absence for all schools in the country. The idea for its restoration came from Prof. Petar Konstantinov - Chairman of the National Association "Mother Bulgaria". Since 2002, a ritual has been performed to raise the national flag in front of the main entrance of the Presidential Administration and to perform a solemn change of guard.
On this day we must remember the names and deeds of:
Paisii Hilendarski - the monk who became the flag of the Bulgarian Revival with one of the greatest deeds in our history - the creation of written Bulgarian history, which aims to awaken the spark of patriotism of our people, to inspire them with self-confidence, reminding them the glorious past, won with dignity by our ancestors.
Sofroniy Vrachanski - a notable Revival writer, public figure, educator, founder of modern Bulgarian literature and builder of the new Bulgarian literary language. He is also the man who made the first transcript of the famous "Slavo-Bulgarian History".
Vasil Aprilov - helped build the first Bulgarian secular school in his hometown of Gabrovo.
Peter Beron - the author of "Fish Primer", introduced a new way of teaching, gave a European look to our education.
Hristo Botev - national hero, revolutionary, poet and publicist, left behind great poems such as "Your T-shirt", "To his brother", "Farewell", "Elegy", "To my first love", "Haiduti", "Hadji Dimitar", "The Hanging of Vasil Levski" and many others. Botev's literary and journalistic heritage is not large in volume, but in its artistic merits it marks the peak not only in the Revival, but also in general in the overall development of Bulgarian literature.
Dimitar and Konstantin Miladinovi - Revival patriots and teachers, collected in collections many folk songs, proverbs, riddles and customs.
Dobri Chintulov - the man who created the lyrics of the most beloved songs that we sing today: "Get up, get up, Balkan hero", "Wind blows, the Balkans moan", "Where are you, your faithful, folk love?".
Vasil Levski, whose devotion and self-sacrifice in the name of freedom is the strongest human quality.
Lyuben Karavelov - Bulgarian poet, writer, encyclopedist, journalist, ethnographer and undisputed national hero contributed significantly to the development of public thought in Bulgaria during the Renaissance, wrote bibliographic works, articles on Bulgarian literature, culture, lexicography, political history, numismatics. Karavelov participated in the national revolutionary movement as a member and chairman of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee in Bucharest, Romania in the early 1970s.
Dobri Voynikov - the playwright, the founder of the first Bulgarian theater, which laid the foundations of theatrical art in our country, criticized foreign worship in his play "Misunderstood Civilization".
Neophyte Rilski - pioneer and successor of the idea of transforming Bulgarian education into secular.
"Naked are the nations without books, powerless to fight without arms against the enemy of our souls. Oh, awakeners of the people, a whole series of bright names pure, radiant, noble, you are our flags for all eternity." Bishop Constantine, X c.
"Enough sleep that Bulgaria has slept for centuries." Neophyte Rilski, 1835
"It's enough that you've slept. Get up! The future came… “Petko Slaveykov, 1886
Since 1991, the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria has celebrated the Day of the People's Awakeners as the Day of Bulgarian Science. By decision of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists, this day also becomes the Day of Bulgarian Journalism.