The Women of Sofia
In Bulgarian it means “unmarried young girl.” An obsession in the world, is to look young. So we scrub, wax, extend, lift, inject, implant, remove, sew, brighten, color, take pills, starve, behave and smile.
The obsession of how we look is robbing us of how we feel. I believe the real beauty of young womanhood is in the mix of tradition and modern interpretation that makes youth exciting. Combine that with the beauty and skills of women (not only in looks but in the grace we take to nourish our surroundings) …and we’ve created new life. This is true with women of all ethnicities, however, I found something very honorable and pleasing about Bulgarian women. There is a festival called Lazaruvane which celebrates young women;
“Lazaruvane is an old Bulgarian custom, which is performed to welcome spring. It is celebrated on the day of St. Lazarus – the Saturday eight days before Easter. Lazaruvane symbolizes the growth of the girl – how it gets older and transforms from a child into a young woman. It was considered that a girl, who has performed this ritual, is ready for marriage. There is a belief that every home, where the girls – Lazarki – have sung, will enjoy health and fertility during the next year.”
The long awaited day of St. Lazar is a festival of songs and dance. (I’m not sure if all families still participate in this tradition) Surely, this may be a controversial tradition in that it is the day that single men will choose their future wife (we can talk about this feminist issue in another article), but what I want to point out is the essence of women. These women represent strength, beauty, and life. They bring comfort, nourishment, food, livelihood, crafts, decoration, and excitement into a home.
Bulgarian Food is Nourishing.
Bulgarian food? I’ll tell you… at this restaurant, Moma, they took so much pride in their womanhood, it was the most taken care of that I have felt in all of Europe so far. “Each hall of the restaurant carries a different theme and carries the woman’s spirit and touch in the Bulgarian household – handmade bread, baking in clay pots, needlework, spinning, carpet and run weaving, lazaruvane, and rose picking.”
The food was unbelievably tasty and the spice blend they use, called Sharena Sol, is to die for. It can be used on the bread, veggies, meat, spreads, and all. I had to hop over to the outdoor market to buy this spice blend. I intend to experiment with it when I get to my next kitchen.
All said and done, I want to acknowledge what beauty all women bring to this world. As I walked around Sofia, not only did I see some of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen in my life, there are statues and monuments all over the city of St. Sofia and women looking powerful and impressionable.
In little cafes and dessert shops there are signs saying “We add a hint of love to all our food,” or “every meal is seasoned with a pinch of love combined with that special skill of Bulgarian women to gather the whole family around the table.” This is one skill I aim to master.
Наздраве на жените! Cheers to women!