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Bulgarian children in Brazil welcome Christmas ‎with an entertaining workshop

Photo: Private archive

The Christmas and New Year holidays are awaited with great joy by children all over the world. The Bulgarian children in distant Brazil are also impatiently counting down the days. For them, the Christmas celebration party, in a typically Brazilian style, will start lavishly and early - already on December 10 at 10:00 a.m. in the Bulgarian Sunday School.
For the 13th year now, the teachers at the Bulgarian Sunday School  have been dedicatedly introducing these young Bulgarian children living in the other hemisphere not only to the secrets of Bulgarian spelling, the work of prominent Bulgarian authors and significant events from their native history, but also to Bulgarian folklore, traditions and customs that will become part of the Christmas cheer. This is what Mikhail Krastanov, founder of the first and only Bulgarian school in South America - the one in Sao Paulo - tells us. 

"There is always something interesting happening at school, and it will be the same this year. "We are slightly worried about whether the halls will be able to gather all those who wish to participate", says Krastanov, adding:

"Now we have started a very interesting task - a Christmas workshop, which will be in two parts. In the first part, the Christmas tree will be decorated, and also for the first time there will be live cooking at the school. We will try to make a Christmas meal and all this somewhat with a competitive purpose and to see somewhat what they remember from our lessons, what they know about the Bulgarian survakari and carolling customs."

Zornitsa Antonova, the person responsible for extracurricular activities at the school, keeps it a secret about exactly what dishes the children will prepare. The tree that the students will decorate, since live Christmas trees are not sold in Brazil, will be artificial, but it is nevertheless very beautiful. "We really miss this aroma of pine, of fir here. But symbolically, this is also an option", explains Mihail Krastanov.

Many representatives of the Bulgarian Bessarabian community in Brazil and their "Cultural Association of the Bulgarian People in Brazil - Bulgarians" are expected among the guests.

This year's Christmas celebration will also include a very special event, explains the founder of the school:

"The awarding of Dr. George Kosikov for special merits from the presidency will take place. President Rumen Radev personally given to our ambassador Bozhidara Sarchadzhieva the honorary medal, which will be presented to Dr. Kosikov at the school at 11:00 a.m. After that, George Kosikov will have the opportunity to meet our students and parents, receive congratulations, both from the Bulgarians as well as the Bessarabian Bulgarians for his great work over the years and his books, some of which were translated into Bulgarian. These are books, rather historiographical, that show the movement of the migrant wave from the start of the 20th century to the present day. This is really a huge work, for which George Kosikov will quite deservedly receive this medal from the president of the republic."‎

In the second part of the celebration, the children will perform Survakari rituals. "We will probably pray to everyone present for health, luck and prosperity," says Krastanov.‎

After the children's celebration, the Bulgarian community will gather in a restaurant, where they will meet the Bulgarian diplomats in Brazil and will be able to ask questions. "We respect and welcome the efforts of the embassy to shorten the distance with the Bulgarian community in Brazil and to provide assistance to school activities," Mikhail Krastanov explains.

Today, 96 children are studying in the school, 35 of them in person - in São Paulo, the rest - online. They are from Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, where there is a large community of Bulgarian musicians, and other Brazilian states, and also from Peru and other South American countries. This is thanks to the new opportunities suggested by the pandemic.‎

"I must say that from the enthusiasm with which the children from Peru entered the lessons and the speed with which they are progressing, it can be seen how much they needed such a school”, Krastanov stresses. “This is like a lifeline for them, because their thirst to know Bulgarian is really huge.”

Radio Bulgaria wishes the Bulgarian Sunday school students in Brazil a wonderful Christmas holiday, much success in learning Bulgarian and, of course, a happy childhood!‎

Photos: Private archive
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