Important dates are easy to forget while living in a foreign country. So, to help you avoid embarrassment this year, we have compiled a short list of Bulgarian calendar highlights for 2017.

Bulgarian Public Holidays

Bulgaria celebrates 11 public holidays each year. Orthodox Easter and Christmas are multiple day affairs. All the rest are single day commemorations.

In late 2016, the Bulgarian parliament adopted new rules for handling holidays falling on weekends. Any holiday falling on a Saturday or Sunday will be followed by a “day off” or “days off” to compensate for the weekend disruption and loss of an expected day off from work. As a result of this you should have a few extra opportunities to plan long weekend breaks during the year.

Here is the complete list of Bulgarian Public Holidays in 2017:

  • Sunday 1 January – New Years Day
  • Monday 2 January – Day off in place of New Years Day
  • Friday 3 March – Liberation Day
  • Friday 14 April – Good Friday
  • Saturday 15 April – Holy Saturday
  • Sunday 16 April – Easter Sunday
  • Monday 17 April Easter Monday
  • Friday 1 May – Labor Day
  • Saturday 6 May – Bulgarian Armed Forces Day
  • Monday 8 May – Day off in place of Bulgarian Armed Forces Day
  • Wednesday 24 May – Day of Slavic Literacy and Culture
  • Wednesday 6 September – Bulgarian Unification Day
  • Friday 22 September – Bulgarian Independence Day
  • Wednesday 1 November – Day of the Bulgarian Revivalists
  • Sunday 24 December – Christmas Eve (Бъдни Вечер)
  • Monday 25 December – Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 26 December – Boxing Day
  • Wednesday 27 December – Day off in place of Christmas Eve

Bulgarian Orthodox Church Holidays 2017

There are church celebrations and commemorations almost every day of the year, but for a list of Bulgarian calendar highlights we are limited to only the best known and most important events:

  • Friday 6 January – Epiphany (BG: Богоявление)
  • Saturday 7 January – Feast of St. John the Baptist (BG: Ивановден)
  • Thursday 2 February – Presentation of Jesus (BG: Сретение Господне)
  • Saturday 25 March – Feast of the Annunciation – (BG: Благовещение)
  • Saturday 8 April – Feast of St. Lazarus – (BG: Лазаровден)
  • Sunday 9 April –  Palm Sunday (BG: Цветница)
  • Friday 14 April – Good Friday (BG: Разпети петък)
  • Saturday 15 April – Holy Saturday
  • Sunday 16 April – Easter Sunday (BG: Великден)
  • Monday 17 April – Easter Monday
  • Tuesday 18 April – Second Day After Easter
  • Saturday 6 May – Feast of St. George – Gergyovden (BG: Гергьовден)
  • Thursday 11 May – Feast of Ss. Cyril and Methodius
  • Thursday 25 May – Ascension Day – Spasovden (BG: Възнесение Господне – Спасовден)
  • Sunday 4 June – Pentecost (BG: Петдесетница)
  • Monday 5 June – Whit Monday (BG: Свети Дух)
  • Thursday 29 June – Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul (BG: Петровден)
  • Thursday 20 July – Fest of St. Elijah (BG: Илинден)
  • Sunday 6 August – Transfiguration of Our Lord (BG:Преображение Господне)
  • Tuesday 15 August – Assumption of the Virgin Mary (BG: Успение на Пресвета Богородица)
  • Friday 8 September – Birth of the Virgin Mary (BG: Рождество на Пресвета Богородица)
  • Thursday 14 September – Holy Cross Day (BG: Кръстовден)
  • Saturday 14 October – Feast of St. Petka of Tarnovo (BG: Петковден)
  • Thursday 19 October –  Feast of John of Rila (BG: Преп. Йоан Рилски Чудотворец)
  • Thursday 26 October – Feast of St. Dimitar (BG: Димитровден)
  • Wednesday 8 November – Feast of the Archangel Michael (BG: Архангеловден)
  • Tuesday 21 November – Presentation of the Virgin Mary (BG: Въведение Богородично)
  • Wednesday 6 December – Feast of St. Nicholas – Nikulden (BG: Никулден)
  • Monday 25 December – Christmas Day (BG: Рождество Христово)
  • Tuesday 26 December – Feast of the Holy Virgin (BG: Събор на Пресвета Богородица)
  • Wednesday 27 December -Feast of St. Stephen (BG: Стефановден)

In addition to those listed here, it is worth investigating the feast day celebrated in your neighborhood church, as well as feast days celebrated in towns where you do business or have other regular contacts. We find that even non-religious Bulgarians are pleased when foreigners remember their local traditions.

Bulgarian Orthodox Church Fast Dates 2017

The Bulgarian Orthodox Church observes two major fasts during its liturgical year. A fast is a period of time set aside for self denial and meditation, partially reflected in temporary dietary restrictions.

The Great Fast, or Great Lent, takes place during the seven weeks leading up to Easter Sunday. In 2017 Clean Monday, the official beginning of the Great Lent, is Monday 27 February.

The Nativity Fast takes place during the 40 days leading up to Christmas Day. It begins on 15 November each year. In 2017, that date falls on a Wednesday.

Foreigners often encounter fasting through restaurant menus. Many Bulgarian restaurants offer fast friendly food (BG: постна храна) on a special  fasting menu (BG: постно меню) during these times of year.

European Summer Time 2017 Beginning and Ending Dates

European Summer Time, also known as Daylight Savings Time in other parts of the world, is the practice of moving clocks ahead one hour to make the most of the extra daylight available during the summer months.

In 2017, European Summer time will begin at 01:00 on Sunday, 26 March and will end at 02:00 on Sunday, 29 October. Move your clock one hour ahead in March, and one hour back in October.

More Bulgarian Calendar Highlights for 2017

No list of Bulgarian calendar highlights would be complete without mentioning some of the less formal, yet culturally significant days during the year.

  • Wednesday 1 February – Remembrance Day for Victims of the Communist Regime
  • Wednesday 1 March – Baba Marta
  • Wednesday 8 March – International Women’s Day
  • Saturday 22 April – Earth Day
  • Friday 15 September – First Day of School
  • Friday 8 December – Student’s Day

A Special Note for Men in Bulgaria

Since we’re on the topic of calendars and dates, I’d like to take a moment to help out my fellow men living in Bulgaria. Here are a few dates you will need to look up for yourself, if you don’t already have them committed to memory:

  • Your wedding Anniversary
  • Your spouse or significant other’s birthday
  • You children’s birthdays, especially those not living in Bulgaria
  • Birthdays and anniversaries of other close relatives and friends

If you know what’s good for you you’ll stop reading for a moment and place a reminder for these dates in your mobile phone. Do it right now! Need to learn how? Get instructions for doing this on your iphone or android phone.



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