Each year at school we have a St. George’s Day Party. Here’s last year’s party. The Bulgarian staff host this party for the American teachers. It’s reciprocal as the American teachers host a big Thanksgiving party in November. St. George’s day is in May but between a couple of major holidays and graduation during the month of May we end up having our party the first Friday in June.
It’s great fun. We eat lamb, salad, rice with internal organs mixed in (well, I didn’t eat that), grilled veggies and bread. We drink wine and beer and usually some rakiya as well.
I’m not sure how the tradition of games started at our school party as a part of St. George’s Day because as I understand it, this is not a traditional party of the holiday. Nevertheless, the international teachers also participate in a series of games that the Bulgarians have created to challenge us. The games are Bulgarian inspired and usually require teamwork, speed, a some knowledge of Bulgarian language, culture and food and a willingness to embarrass yourself in front of your Bulgarian colleagues.
This year the party was inside rather than around the fountain due to all of the rain that we’ve been having lately. So instead of having physical challenges we were given Bulgarian language challenges. This of course was a hoot for our Bulgarian colleagues who by in large speak English much, much better than we speak Bulgarian.
We were given a St George’s Day survey to complete. Then we had to read and pronounce the names of long difficult Bulgarian villages. Next, we given an envelop with a Bulgarian idiom in it and the English “translation” was taped on the outside of the envelope. Our job was to arrange the Bulgarian words inside the envelope to come up with the Bulgarian idiom. Finally we blind-folded one of our teammates and they were lead to a table as if they were a new baby and given the opportunity to pick out two objects that would represent them. Then a second teammate had to read the “baby’s” fortune as if they were the godmother. This was very funny because the objects were things like dried Bulgarian sausage, Bulgarian pottery, rakiya and the like.
Everyone who participated won some kind of a Bulgarian prize. So that elicited a lot of laughter as well.
Needless to say, these activities had our Bulgarian colleagues in stitches and they were pretty fun to participate in. Things got even more fun after the games when the music changed and everyone started dancing the horo. After five or six traditional Bulgarian songs, we switched gears and started dancing to pop music laced with Bulgarian dance/party classics–one about a bicycle was a huge hit.
We talked, danced and socialized until 10pm when it was time to either go home or go out. We went out.
The whole night was a blast.