Name Day

Today was the name day for everyone named after St. Nicolas (Nikola, Nikali, etc). Name days are the feast day of Christian Saints and in Bulgaria, they have the same significant as birthdays. According to tradition, the person celebrating is or her name day is supposed to treat everyone. Usually this is a drink and some sugary food. For closer friends, the person takes his or her friends out to a drink or a meal at a restaurant. As far as I know, hardly anyone celebrates the religious significance of the day.

I went to school to teach the computer class. When I walked into the teacher’s lounge, the table was covered in cookies, nuts, bon boni and soda. The teachers kept telling me to eat. I wasn’t going to argue about sitting in a warm room being told to eat cookies. After teaching class, I went back to work. When I got there, I was informed I needed to contribute some money to help one my colleagues pay to help him celebrate his name day. The time came to go to his office. When I got there, there were several people crammed into his small office. The cover table, once again, was covered in nuts, cookies and candy. The only difference compared to the teachers’ party was the half empty bottle of whisky. So I sat in an office drinking whisky with secretaries, lawyers and other people in the administration. The whole situation a was a bit surreal.

I ate dinner with my site mate; she made some awesome chili, cornbread and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. We were both stuffed to begin with from the name day, but that chili was_so_good!

On a sad note, I expirenced my first blatant bigotry towards the Roma. I was in a conversation with someone about the town. They told me where I shouldn’t go in town, which quickly degraded into an anti-Roma tirade. I won’t summarized the converation other than it made me feel really uncomfortable and I wondered how an educated person can hold such beliefs.


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