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The first Bulgarian Christmas market in Vienna promotes social causes

Christmas market in Vienna (for illustratiion)
Photo: EPA/BGNES archive

Hardly anywhere else in Europe is Christmas more lavish, more colorful and tastier! When the end of the year comes, the Austrian capital Vienna shines with thousands of lights on its decorated parks and gardens, and the smell of cinnamon, honey sweets, caramelized almonds is felt all around the city... From mid-November until Christmas, it is the market season, when the Austrian capital comes alive in anticipation of the Holy Night, and its squares are overflowing with souvenir stalls and home-made delicacies.

For the first time this year, Bulgarians in Vienna will be able to eat typical local delights, buy handmade gifts for loved ones and feel the Bulgarian spirit at the first ever Bulgarian Christmas market in the heart of Vienna. The event will take place on December 10 and 11 at the Bulgarian restaurant “By the Way” and promises warmth and good mood from now on. The initiator of the bazaar is Elitsa Nikolova, owner of the Bulgarian online bookstore "Buchnica" in Vienna.

"The idea came from my activity of the past three years, namely to maintain an online bookstore with Bulgarian and translated literature, which experienced suspensions during the coronavirus pandemic and my maternity leave. And now I felt the need for our books to "breathe", to go out among people and be leafed through. I thought to myself "Why don't we get together, all friends at the bookstore, and have our own Christmas party?".Thus the idea of the bazaar was born. On it, visitors will be able to find Christmas books and all kinds of other things for young and old, find beautiful ceramic decorations for the home, buy cosmetics, and also enjoy chocolate or honey cookies. We will also have representatives of Bulgarian grocery stores in Vienna, who have prepared Bulgarian delicacies and traditional things for us."

Elitsa Nikolova with her family

The bazaar stands behind several Bulgarian causes, including the "Ole Male" initiative of the Maiko Mila Foundation, aimed at mothers of children with disabilities:

"The mothers from "Ole Male" have made Christmas decorations from various materials, which they will offer at the Christmas bazaar, such as gnomes, felt toys and others," says Elitsa Nikolova. “From Animal Rescue Sofia, they sent us calendars with photos of their four-legged friends that they care for, as well as Christmas cards, story books, plush toys and candles. Funds raised from the sale will be used to maintain their animal farm. Also, we support the project "Children's smile mission" of the Inspire Bulgaria Association, and this year the mission is to provide funds for organizing theatre and puppet productions, as well as creative workshops for children from family-type accommodation centres.

The organizers call on our compatriots in Vienna to be in a good mood and to visit the first-ever Bulgarian Christmas market in Vienna, which by all accounts is expected to grow into a celebration of the Bulgarian spirit abroad.

Learn more about how the Bulgarian communities abroad are preparing to welcome Christmas:
Photos: Elitsa Nikolova

Written by Veneta Nikolova
Editing Elena Karkalanova

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