How Schools throughout Bulgaria Celebrate St. Vasil

In all the schools of north-east Bulgaria, St. Vasil celebrations have been organized on 13.01.2012 by the ‘Ethnic Folklore - Roma Folklore’ culture classes which included telling of stories, the Bango Vasil legend, performing Roma songs and dances, making sourvaknitsa and presentation of the traditional feast. Thousands of students took part in the school celebrations to experience hands-on the abundant Roma tradition.



Region Northeast

District Dobrich

‘Kliment Ohridski’ Basic School in the rural area Smolnitsa organised on 13.01.2012 during the school break, with students grades 1-8 from ‘Ethnic folklore – Roma folklore’ classes, a celebration that included the legend of the shpeherd Bango Vasil: ‘St. Vasil  - patron of the Roma’ and ‘the story of the shepherd Bango Vasil'.

The feast focused on the preliminary preparation for the holiday, what says the tradition about the meals to be arranged on the table, the goings of the dinner on the New Year’s Eve and the ritual sourvakane. A group of students represented the welcome and receipt of Bango Vasil into the household.

The mothers of three of the students on their own initiative and with their own products, prepared the so-called ‘gypsy a meal’ that was afterwards offered to students. These customs are unfamiliar to our students because they are not acknowledging this feast since they belong to a Roma sub-group called millet who does not celebrate Bango Vasil. Everything was interesting the students were glad to join.


District Razgrad

’St. St. Cyril and Methodius' Basic School in the village Yasenovets – St. Vasil  Celebration

Yet another feast in ‘St. St. Cyril and Methodius’ Basic School gathered young and adults at one place. Although the village does not celebrate the Roma New Year, students from the school showed how Roma from other parts of Bulgaria celebrate the holiday. This was a kind of greeting to them.
A great deal of preparatory work preceded the celebration. Members of the Parent’s Club cooked meals for the festive table and provided clothing for children taking part in celebration. The students learned songs, dances, decorated the hall of the school and prepared to recreate traditional custom to welcome St. Vasil. The celebration coincided with the first day of the feast, which is traditionally held in three consecutive days. From early morning the school filled in with eager spectators and participants. The celebration opening turned everyone to silence. Smiles appeared on the faces of performers, their parents and relatives. Great part of the audience was surprised by the similarities in the way of celebrating this feast by different ethnicities. The apex of the program was new gypsy dance performed by the ethnic dance group that was received by the audience with much applause. The program brought joy to all attendees.

District Rousse

In the Basic School ‘St. St. Cyril and Methodius’ town of Senovo on the 13.01.2012 first graders took part in sourvakne of the town’s mayor. Bango Vasil is one of the most dearly hold traditions by all Roma groups in Bulgaria.
On January 13, the group of first grade pupils from the "Ethnic Folklore - Roma folklore" culture class at ‘St. St. Cyril and Methodius’ Basic School and their school principal  Ivan Todorov, visited the town’s mayor Inna Geogieva, and the secretary Iliana Koleva and other Town’s Hall employees. The youngsters greeted the hosts with two Roma songs, one of which called ‘Vasilii’ and two Bulgarian songs. The children received good wishes and sweets.

District Silistra

The four graders at ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’ Basic School in Prof. Ishirkovo village made festive and exciting celebration of the Roma New Year on 13.01.2012. Students are participating in the "Ethnic Folklore - Roma folklore" classes. Their joy was shared by teachers and the whole school.

District Turgovishte

On January 13, "Hristo Botev" Basic School in Kamburovo village  celebrated St. Vasil – the Roma New Year with parents, teachers and students. It was the first time the school makes a feast on that occasion but the students through drama, song and dance performance showed once again what they want: to live, create and dream together, regardless of what ethnicity they belong to. They wish to learn and celebrate together.
The feast preparation was interesting and welcome by all. Parents from the Parent club took also part in the event. The custom of Vasilitsa has been recreated. For great part of the audience, it was a surprise that there are many similarities in the way different ethnic groups celebrate the Roma New Year. The program ended with a wonderful dance, which received a storm of applause. The students promised to spend a lot of holidays together and also with parents and teachers.


District Shumen

On the occasion of celebration Bangou Vasil, Roma pupils from Basic School ‘Hristo Botev’ village Kaspichan, Shumen region visited and performed the custom sourvakane  at RIE, Shumen represented by Ass. Prof. PhD Dobromir Dobrev, as well as the Regional Director of ‘Social Assistance’ Head Office - Dragomir Yankov and the Regional Health Inspection head - Dr. Dimitar Kostov.

The reason behind choosing exactly these institutions was that they were partners in the project ‘To touch the untouchable: combatting traditional and new anti-Roma stereotypes’ which is also implemented by CIEDT Amalipe and funded by the European Commission under the ‘Fundamental Human Rights and Civic Participation’ Program. The celebration of St. Vasil coincided with the third module of the training organized within the project in which took part teachers, social workers and doctors, who were also greeted by the pupils with a  program specially prepared for the holiday.


Region Northwest

District Lovech

‘Hristo Botev’ Basic School, Kirchevo village and ‘Bacho Kiro’ Secondary Comprehensive School Letnitsa town - students prepared celebrations with Roma songs and dances, recreating the custom,  presentation on the origin of the Roma ethnic groups. January 14, children from ‘Ethnic Folklore – Ethnic Folklore’ class organized a visit a Roma house.

District Pleven

The Secondary Comprehensive School 'Hristo Smirnenski' in Koynare town, the Basic School ‘Hristo Botev’ in the village Chomakovtsi and the Basic School ‘Hristo Botev’ in Glava village organized a joint initiative hosted by the mentoring school in Koynare. Pupils from ‘Ethnic Folklore - Roma Folklore’ classes celebrated for the first time the Bangou Vasil – the Roma New Year. This holiday proved real challenge for all students and teachers. Everyone knew something about the holiday, but it was not enough. The parents also took part by telling about the traditions of this day. So the pieces were put together and the Bango legend came to life.

The students from the pilot schools in the villages Glava and Chomakovtsi greeted the hosts with songs, dances and funny stories.

The school principal Mrs Daniela Tsonyovska was  experiencing the ritual sourvakane for a second time this year - once at Christmas and now at Bangou Vasil. She handed down letters of gratitude to school directors partner in the projects. All participants from the ‘Ethnic Folklore - Roma Folklore" classes received sweets. The entire celebration "Basil" was filmed by regional TV and broadcast on cable television. The school expresses its special gratitude to Center "Amalipe" for the opportunity to restore the holiday and give to children of other ethnicities a particle of self-esteem so that they through a sense of their own culture, traditions and history!

District Montana

Students from the Secondary Comprehensive School 'Hristo Botev' - Brusartsi town, organized celebrations on occasion of the most significant Roma holidays - Bangou Vasili. On 13 January participants in the ‘Ethnic Folklore - Roma Folklore’ class with their mentors visited the Town Hall Brusartsi and greeted the mayor Natasha Mikhailova. The children greeted her with two Bulgarian Romani and one Bulgarian song and wishes for health, good luck and success in 2012.

District Vratsa

Basic school 'St. St. Cyril and Methodius', Malorad village and Basic school 'Cyril and Methodius' Devene village organized a joint initiative hosted by the pilot school in Devene. ‘Folklore Festival’ recreating the custom as celebrated by Bulgarians and Roma; Romani songs and dances; story dramatization of ‘The Priest ‘Rustler".
‘Hristo Botev’ Banitsa village - pupils from third and fourth grade from ‘Ethnic Folklore’ class visited Social Assistance Agency and the Ministry of Education Inspectorate, performing sourvakne for health and good luck. The occasion on which the visit was held is the celebration of the Roma New Year known as  Bangou Vasili. Therefore, the good wishes were on both languages Romani and Bulgarian.

Region Southwest

District Sofia

An on-air TV reportage made in the 171st Basic School ‘Stoil Popov ', Novi Iskar area in Sofia in the morning on the  BNT Channel showed the day of the Roma culture and its celebration with traditional sayings and family preparations. Among the guests, was the mayor of the area Mrs. Raycheva and the school principal Ms. Mihaylova.

Parents and teachers have  made different pies, vine leaves with rice fill, sweets, stuffed turkey etc. delicious meals which children and guests tasted on occasion of the celebration. All this became possible due to  Hrisi, and Radou - medicine students who have recently started working  with the children.

RHI in Sofia and the entire team of director Mr. Kanzov met in the small office the children to enjoy their wonderful performances.


Region Southeast

District Bourgas

On January 13 Roma students from Secondary Comprehensive School ‘Hristo Botev’ Kameno greeted town municipal administration and performed the custom sourovakane with sourovachki who they themselves worked out. The mayor of the town Kameno warmly received the guests and wished them a healthy and successful New Year. The students greeted with song also the social workers.
School ‘Otets Paisii’ Ravna Gora village -  on the occasion of Bangou Vasil children from Ethnic Folklore  class visited Roma families. The landlord, apart from being very hospitable turned out to be a good storyteller too. The children listened to his story about the traditions and customs of celebrating St. Vasil’s   Day in his family, as well as his  childhood memories with great interest.


District Yambol

Good wishes in three languages have been pronounced during the ritual sourvakne by the town’s Mayor Georgi Slavov who hosted a group of pupils from the school‘Yordan Yovkov’ , Yambol on the occasion of the Roma New Year - January 14 known as Bangou Vasil. Students are subscribed in the group learning ‘Ethnic Folklore’. For the first time Roma children greet the mayor and the administration. Wishes for health and successful year were part of the address to the Mayor of Yambol, Georgi Slavov and administration officials. Fourth graders presented an impressive short program that not only represents Roma traditions with celebrating Bangou Vasil, but showed that they are doing well with mastering the Bulgarian folklore too.

In Basic School ‘Petar Beron’, Yambol children from 6th B class and their parents took part in the initiative to recreate St. Vasil’s Day. To the pupils from  4th and 6th grade, performance of the St. Vasil with the participation of children and parents has been made. Families were talking about the typical rituals accompanying the feast and about traditional dishes.

A festive celebration on occasion of the Roma Day St. Vasil has also been organized in ‘Cyril and Methodius’ school Straldzha. Children from the ‘Ethnic Folklore - Roma Folklore’ class with their supervisor Tsvetelina Toncheva invited their grandparents to tell how they celebrated in Bangou Vasil many years ago. The feast started with singing the Roma anthem "Dzhelem, dzhelem" after which Veselina Hristova read her poem whose message was that people should love each other and not be distinguished by the color of their skin. The guests Veselka Ivanova and Nikolai Dobrev recapitulated their memories from childhood and told the legend of the lame shepherd who saved a drowning Roma child. After that, followed a prayer for health, longevity and prosperity.


District Stara Zagora

Of 13.01. students of the "Ethnic Folklore - Roma folklore" class from 1st Basic School ‘St. P. Hilendarski’ town Galabovo recreated traditional Roma feast associated with St. Vasil counted as the start of the Roma New Year. On the morning of 13 January, a group of sourvakari surprised the school management and educators with songs and wishes for good health and luck in the Roma language. The children told their classmates and teachers the legend of Bango Vasil who the Roma revere as their savior and patron.

Basic school 'Petar Beron' in Sheynovo village organized celebration of the feast Bangou Vasil on January, 13. Children of the 'Ethnic Folklore' class performed the ritual sourvakne with school director Mr. Manchev, community centers and pensioners club in the village.  Followed sourvakars’ blessings for health and good  luck in the New Year.