Celebrating the Day of the Bulgarian Enlighteners 2015

For the 1st of November OUBS organised their traditional event in celebration of one of the most important holidays in Bulgaria - the Day of the Bulgarian Enlighteners. On this date Bulgarians remember those people who dedicated their life to develop and preserve the Bulgarian spirit throughout the years. This time we joined forces with the Bulgarian School in Oxford, whose founders kindly agreed to tell us its story.



The event took place in the Habakkuk Room in Jesus College, Oxford. Among our guests were Bulgarian students in the university and pupils from the school with their families. Teodora Petranova and Valentina Alexandrova-Kirova - the founders of the school, opened the event with a talk about the establishment of the Day of the Bulgarian Enlighteners. They went on to discuss the recent foundation of a large number of Bulgarian educational institutions all over Europe. "Slovo"- the Bulgarian School in Oxford, is also one of them. It opened doors in January 2015 and had 15 students at the start. Since October 2015 the school is educating 32 children, divided into 3 classes plus a preschool group. There is also a dancing group. They meet on weekends to learn about Bulgarian language, literature, history and culture from the three teachers working with them. The children attending the school come from bulgarian families living in the UK and thus a lot of them have little prior knowledge about the home country of their parents.

The introduction was followed by a couple of performances by the children: they could successfully recite Bulgarian poems learned at school, despite the fact that they rarely encounter Bulgarian language outside of the classroom.

Next was a presentation by a Bulgarian student in Oxford about two enlighteners – Dr. Ivan Seleminski and the poet Hristo Smirnenski. This resulted in an informal discussion on related topics. "What exactly is a "buditel" (the Bulgarian word for an "enlightener")?", "Can we talk about enlighteners in the modern world?", "What kind of an enlightener does Bulgaria currently need?", “Can a person who lives outside Bulgaria become an enlightener?”... all those are questions of concern for the Bulgarians in Oxford, who live away from their country but want to contribute to the preservation of the nation's spirit and culture.

It was great to see so many people of different age and interests coming to celebrate the wonderful occassion together. We hope that such events contribute to the interest of young people in Bulgarian culture.

You can find some photos from the event here: