Refugees Welcome in Bulgaria

A few weeks ago I came across this graffiti in downtown Sofia, along Aleksandar Dondukov Boulevard:

Refugees welcome, deport the...?
Refugees welcome, deport the…?

I would have expected to see this in a more liberal, developed European country like Germany, France, or Sweden, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it here. Bulgaria is rather conservative, poor, and has no shortage of gripping issues inside its own borders. Nevertheless, it’s good to see at least one compassionate Bulgarian publicly expressing this viewpoint.

According to the UN’s Refugee Agency there are more displaced peoples in the world right now than at any time in human history. From their report:

[…] the number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago.

Part of the solution to this problem surely involves a different strategy in the Middle East — nearly five million refugees are from Syria alone (since 2011!) — but building walls around Europe to keep out the refugees is not.

A Bulgarian Christmas

Note: this was originally posted on my other blog and has been re-posted here for posterity.

In my experience a Bulgarian Christmas is family, food, and snow — all in large portions. To be fair, minus the snow, that pretty much describes any time of year in Bulgaria! Allow me to elaborate (and share a few specifics)…


For the purposes of this list family and food are one in the same; recipes and traditions about food are passed down from generation to generation, and food is enjoyed together.

Apparently, according to traditions in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, people are supposed to forgo animal products like meat, eggs, milk, cheese, etc for forty days before Christmas. In practice (and probably more so in urban areas) it seems like people generally only do this on Christmas eve.

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