Ahead of 24 May, Bulgaria's perhaps happiest holiday celebrating the invention of the Slavic alphabet by two Greek monks in particular and, in more general terms, Bulgarian culture and high-school graduation, the Education Ministry, now headed by the former EU Commissioner, Meglena Kuneva, adopted changes to the national curriculum to make obligatory... folk dances, or the Horo. Under the new rules, Bulgarian pupils will have to have mastered as many as 20 different horo by the time they graduate. Learning to dance folk dances was heretofore optional in Bulgarian schools.
A good sense of direction in circumstances where maps are of little use, a willingness to ask the way, and an adventurous spirit – if you possess at least two of these qualities, it is time to head to the Eastern Rhodope. Even if you think you know this part of the mountain range, you are certain to come across strange landmarks and strange stories. Some of them are natural, others are man-made, and what they have in common is their ability to inspire the imagination.
"To me, the fireworks looked like the souls of the resurrected leaving their graves and flying joyfully into heaven."
Father Dionisiy on the controversial Easter fireworks at St Alexandr Nevskiy cathedral