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Why is Cyrillic the alphabet of peace for Bulgarians in Hamburg

The Festival of the Bulgarian Alphabet will bring together many Bulgarians living in Germany for the second year in a row.

The event is organized on the initiative of a group of Bulgarians in Hamburg. In this industrial center of Germany people with Bulgarian roots are united in their desire to work for their community through the Internet in a group called "Together". Their common goal is to promote awareness of Bulgarians abroad.

Their idea is related to May 24 - the day on which Bulgarians honour the work of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, the Bulgarian alphabet and Slavic literature.

May 24 has a special place in the heart of every Bulgarian. The celebrations are especially festive in schools all over Bulgaria, where young childdren learn to write their first Bulgarian letters, to read books and get acquainted with Bulgarian literary culture.

It is celebrated by Bulgarians abroad, but often May 24 falls on a working day. In Bulgaria it is an official holiday, but the initiatives of Bulgarians abroad are usually on the weekends before or after May 24. 

The Festival of the Bulgarian Alphabet in Hamburg will take place on Sunday, 29 May. The idea is to gather people and walk together through the most picturesque areas of this city, which is often called the "Gateway to the World". There will be chamber music performances, free dance and singing lessons for children, theatre show, a jigsaw with texts in Bulgarian, exhibitions and many other events in the spirit of Bulgarian writing, education and culture.

"Each year we will have a different motto for the festival. This year, the general social context in which we live is too serious, so our motto will be "Letters for Peace" - explains the initiator of the festival Christo Karabadjakov, who has lived in Germany for more than 20 years.

"With this festival we would like to draw the attention to the fact that the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius were among the first unifying figures in Europe. Through the missions of their disciples in Great Moravia and then in Bulgaria, we can see how their work, the Cyrillic alphabet, brought peoples closer together, instead of dividing them.

By organizing this festival here, we also signal to our friends from Ukraine that we are one and we support them. There are over 12 thousand Bulgarians registered in Hamburg, there are also large communities of Russians, Serbs, Ukrainians, and many more have come since February.

Representatives of Slavic peoples are particularly numerous in Hamburg. The festival program will therefore be aimed at these communities. Our special invitation is addressed to them."

The Bulgarian community in Germany began the celebrations of Sts. Cyril and Methodius on May 11.

The Bulgarian Church in Hamburg celebrated the Holy Brothers with a sermon and the Bulgarian Sunday School also organized its own celebrations to mark May 24 - the Day of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius and the Bulgarian literary tradition.

The initiative of the active young Bulgarians from "Together" is another event that seems to unite the two festive dates, while expressing their own modern understanding of culture and traditions, presenting them attractively.

"So we do a mobile festival in the form of a march from the school to our church in Hamburg. We are trying to get more people involved in our initiative by inviting them on such a stroll along a pre-defined route.

After holding the first festival last year, we found that Bulgarians, and not only Bulgarians in Hamburg, are eager for this kind of unconventional holiday experience. It's great that we can now invite them to come together and celebrate once again."

In Germany, the Bulgarian group "Together" finds a broad understanding and support for its activities, whether it is organizing elections or protests in discontent with the Bulgarian government.

Now, on the occasion of the Festival of the Bulgarian Alphabet, one of the stops of the Bulgarian procession will be in the courtyard of the University of Hamburg. According to Christo Karabadjakov, the support of the German authorities has been unconditional. They immediately agreed to provide all available infrastructure. This made Bulgarians in Hamburg feel respected, valued and fully on par. Recently they have even noticed an increased interest in Bulgaria among Germans.

This also means that the festival May 29, will be visited by many local German citizens.

Editor: Elena Karkalanova

Photos: zaedno.hamburg, Facebook /@Zaedno.Hamburg, dveri.bg
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