Bulgarian Marks May 24 as Day of Culture, Education, Slav Letters
Sofia, May 24 (BTA) - Bulgarians mark May 24 as the Day of
Bulgarian Education and Culture and of Slav Letters. This year,
the traditional processions and celebrations were cancelled
because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
President Rumen Radev greeted teachers, children, scientists,
clergymen and artists. Talking to journalists, he described May
24 as "our inimitable Bulgarian holiday, above all a celebration
of the spirit."
Vice President Iliana Iotova greeted all expatriate Bulgarians
and thanked them for joining on a massive scale her initiative
encouraging children and young people of the Bulgarian
communities abroad to pay respect to Sts Cyril and Methodius by
posting a 3-minute video in which they read a relevant poem or
essay of their own or another, or sing a song.
Radev and Iotova laid flowers at the Monuments to Sts Cyril and
Methodius in front of the National Library in Sofia.
Bulgarian Patriarch Neophyte celebrated a solemn prayer service
on the occasion of May 24 at the St Alexander Nevsky Memorial
Cathedral. At the end of the service, he addressed he
congregation, saying that "we are gathered yet again to express
our eternal gratitude to the saintly brothers Cyril and
Methodius, who invented the alphabet and set the beginning of a
script that has survived to this very day, defining the
spiritual and cultural identity of Orthodox Bulgaria."
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov greeted Bulgarians in a Facebook
post. "Feeling national pride, we pay homage to the lifework of
the saintly brothers Cyril and Methodius, thanks to whom we now
express ourselves freely in our native tongue and preserved the
spiritual identity of our people and State," the PM wrote.
"May 24 is a date encapsulating past and present and blazing a
trail to our common future," Education and Science Minister
Krassimir Vulchev said in a greetings address on the occasion.
Greeting artists, Bulgarian culture figures and arts schools
teachers and pupils, Culture Minister Boil Banov pointed out
that Bulgarian culture has always been prominently present and
the best ambassador of the Bulgarian people worldwide.
Greetings were also extended by Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova,
Sofia University Rector Anastas Gerdjikov, Bulgarian Socialist
Party leader Kornelia Ninova and other dignitaries.
May 24 commemorates the work of the brothers Constantine (Cyril)
(827-869) and Methodius (815-885), Byzantine missionaries born
in Salonica, who devised the Glagolitic in AD 855 or 862-863.
The Cyrillic, from which the modern Slav nations' alphabets are
derived, came 40-50 years later, c. AD 902-912. Like the Roman
script, it was adapted by scholars of the Preslav Literary
School from the Greek alphabet, borrowing the latter's all 24
characters and adding 24 new ones for specific Slav sounds.
The Slav alphabet was adopted in Bulgaria in AD 886 as a vehicle
of enforcing Old Bulgarian as the single national and
liturgical language. From Bulgaria, the script spread to other
Slav countries and is now used by some 250 million people
worldwide in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Serbia, North Macedonia
and Croatia. Romania also used the Cyrillic until the late
1870s. The alphabets of some non-Slav languages, like Kazakh,
Mongolian, Ossetian, Tatar and Tajik, are also based on the
More than a third of the original 48 Cyrillic letters have been
dropped in modern Bulgarian, which makes do with a 30-character
alphabet (spelling was last reformed in 1945).
As Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, the Cyrillic became the third
official EU alphabet after the Latin and the Greek ones. On May
2, 2013, the European Central Bank put into circulation a new 5
euro banknote on which, for the first time, the name of the
single currency and the abbreviation 'ECB' (European Central
Bank) are written in the Cyrillic alphabet. NV/LG