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“March ahead, o revived people”, the song dedicated to 24 May

Stoyan Mihailovski
Photo: archive

The Day of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius, which is the day of the Bulgarian alphabet, education and culture, and of Slavonic literature in this country, is more than an official holiday. It is probably the best loved and most unifying festive day of all, and for all Bulgarians – in this country and abroad. And it is invariably connected with one song, with music by Panayot Pipkov and lyrics by Stoyan Mihailovski – the song March ahead, o revived people”. Or as it is popularly known – the Saints Cyril and Methodius anthem.

The poem was first published by Misal (Thought) magazine in Ruse, at the end of the 19th century, under the title of “Cyril and Methodius”. It was on the basis of this text that, in 1901, composer Panayot Pipkov, at the time a school teacher in the town of Lovech, created a song sung by school children on the Day of the Saints Cyril and Methodius (11 May, old style). The very next year it was being performed in most schools across the country, to become a musical symbol of this day, and of Bulgarians’ love of education and culture, because as the lyrics go: “Go! For like the sun is knowledge.On the soul it sheds its rays.” and “Go! A people shall not perish, when true learning lights its days”.

The rendition of the Saints Cyril and Methodius anthem is by the Bulgarian National Radio’s Children’s Radio Choir, conductor Hristo Nedyalkov.

March ahead, o revived people,

To your future march ahead,

Forge your destiny of glory,

By the might of letters led.

March to powerful knowledge,

Let your duty be your guide!

Join the host of other peoples,

God is always by your side.

Go! For like the sun is knowledge.

On the soul it sheds its rays.

Go! A people shall not perish,

When true learning lights its days.

Once unknown and obscure,

Take your place in History.

Let your spirit rule the countries

You subdued in victory.

You saints Cyril and Methodius,

You be blessed thrice above!

Fathers of Bulgarian learning,

Makers of the tongue we love!

Ruse, 1882, April 15


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