Public figures address Bulgarians on May 24 celebrations

Public figures address Bulgarians on May 24 celebrations

SOFIA, Bulgaria – The celebrations of the Day of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, of the Bulgarian Alphabet, Education and Culture and of Slav Letters began with a solemn procession on May 24 in Sofia. President Rumen Radev and Vice President Iliana Iotova joined the ceremony.

The procession started at 10:30 from the Ministry of Education and Science near the fountain in front of the Archaeological Museum and continued to the Monument of the Holy Brothers in front of the “St. Cyril and Methodius” National Library. The official ceremony began at 11:00 and was attended by President Radev, Vice President Iotova, caretaker Prime Minister Galab Donev, ministers, Sofia Municipality officials, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, BTA Director General Kiril Valchev, and numerous public figures. Here is what some of them said on the occasion:

President Rumen Radev delivered a greeting and presented flowers at the monument of the Holy Brothers in front of the National Library. “We Bulgarians are an integral part of Europe not by mercy, but by contribution, not for favors, but for merits. Today we should be proud of that.”, Radev said. He added that in the field of science and culture people remain students all their lives. “On May 24 we are all children, we remember what we were like, we wish we were like them – open-minded, enthusiastic, discovering the world. Today we remember the letters and the faces of the teachers who made us human,” Radev said. He stressed that May 24 is one of the few days when Bulgarians stand united and leave controversies aside.

“Significant cultural processes in Europe started from Bulgaria. The Bulgarian alphabet, the Slavic literary and liturgical tradition, and Bogomilism are embedded in the cultural code of the continent,” the Bulgarian Head of State added. According to him the “Bulgarian cultural field of our crossroads homeland” has absorbed a lot of influence. “I dare say that there are things that remain inaccessible to the cold mind, but which our people understand, precisely because of their ancient, complex, sometimes painful, but rich spiritual experience. On May 24, all Bulgarians have the occasion to feel the comfort of our native language. We return to it as to our own home, even when we are alone in our thoughts or far from our homeland. Let us not forget that we live in the language and it lives through us, and that we all together arrange this one common home. Let us watch over it, let us speak it with love and let us not waste words, but keep them,” Radev said in his speech. 

The literary and educational activity of Cyril and Methodius is part of the image of modern Europe. It is deeply embedded in the foundations of the rich and equally-placed cultural diversity of the united continent, National Assembly Chair Rosen Zhelyazkov told the attendees at the pilgrimage to the relics of St Cyril at Rome’s Basilica of St Clement.

May 24 is the holiday that undoubtedly brings the most positive emotions to all Bulgarians, and this May 24 is even more special, Continue the Change co-leader Kiril Petkov said on Facebook. 

“On the eve of the most Bulgarian holiday, we have gotten another reason for pride and it is related to the power of words – Georgi Gospodinov and his novel “Time Shelter” were awarded the most prestigious world prize for literature – the International Booker Prize,” Petkov wrote.

“I would like to thank Georgi Gospodinov for reminding us that time belongs to those who are ready to break away from the past and look boldly towards the future. Thank you for reminding us that Bulgaria can and that “where there is darkness, there is always a miracle”, Petkov added.

Mariya Gabriel, GERB-UDF’s nominee for rotating prime minister, congratulated Bulgarians on the occasion on Facebook. In her post, she thanked teachers and lecturers for their invaluable work, professionalism and strong spirit, as well as scientists, artists, cultural and educational figures for their creativity and dedication. Gabriel wished the students and pupils energy, the pursuit of knowledge and new horizons. In a separate post, she also congratulated Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov for winning the International Booker Prize with his novel “Time Shelter”.

This holiday obliges us to know and respect the Bulgarian word and Bulgarian national culture and to present them to the world with pride and self-confidence, Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader Mustafa Karadayi wrote on Facebook. He congratulates everyone on the occasion of May 24 on his and his party’s behalf.  

“Our alphabet, used by more than 200 million people worldwide, is our greatest contribution to human civilization. Let us cherish and respect it,” wrote on Facebook Vazrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov, on the occasion of May 24. 

“And we have given something to the world and to all Slavs – a book to read!”, Kostadinov wrote. 

In his post, he calls on everyone for “a completely symbolic gesture” – if their name on Facebook is written in the Latin aphabet, let them write it in the Bulgarian letters. Let it be a small but symbolic beginning of the return of Bulgarian among Bulgarians, Kostadinov adds.

Socialist leader Kornelia Ninova expressed gratitude to the Bulgarian teachers, scientific, educational and cultural figures who have dedicated their lives to a most noble cause: to preserve and transmit Bulgarian spirituality. “It has preserved us as a nation in the most difficult years. We must rely on it today,” she said on the occasion of the holiday in the western town of Samokov, as quoted by her party’s press center. 

“It is no coincidence that language, writing, speech, words are the main pillar that supports our nation. Let us use them to tell the truth! Happy May 24, Bulgarians!”, wrote There Is Such a People party leader Slavi Trifonov, on his official Facebook profile.

The Cyrillic alphabet is the prayer and the sword of our future and independence, said Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova in her speech in front of the National Library. “May 24 is the celebration of the soul of Bulgaria, the celebration of knowledge, the Bulgarian Easter of creation, the glorious victory of our unity in language and history,” Fandakova added. She said that the Cyrillic alphabet marked the beginning of a long and endless path of wisdom and freedom, and greeted the Bulgarian teachers and students, university professors, journalists, artists and scientists.

In his speech, Bulgarian writer Georgi Bardarov paraphrased Stefan Zweig that there are two discoveries of the human mind at the origin of all human movement – movement in space, made possible by the invention of the wheel which revolves on its axis and spiritual movement, made possible by writing. “This gives today’s holiday Bulgaria’s place among the very few nations in the world that stand at the foundation of human progress and the spiritual movement of all mankind,” he stressed. Bardarov expressed his optimism about the younger generation, which he said he views as both cosmopolitan and harboring a deep love for Bulgaria, “far from the xenophobia, religious and ethnic prejudices of the past national era.”

The “Let’s Read” festival started at 11:00 on Slaveykov Square and will continue throughout the day.

At 18:30 at the National History Museum in Sofia, President Radev and his wife will host the traditional reception on the occasion of the Day of the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius, of the Bulgarian alphabet, education and culture and of Slavonic literature. (BTA)

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