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December 2006, 15/12/2006

Dear Valued Stara Planina Properties Client,

Christmas is upon us and we thought to share with you some of the traditions as celebrated in Bulgaria. Included also is a piece about PropertyWise – a new magazine which we think gives excellent insight into the current state of play with the property market in Bulgaria.

We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and happy and prosperous New Year 2007!

Bulgarians Christmas Traditions

According to the Bulgarian tradition Christmas is celebrated from 24th to 27th December. The Bulgarian word for Christmas is 'Koleda' and the evening of the 24th December is called Malka Koleda ('Little Christmas') or Badni Vecher.

Malka Koleda (24th December) is a more important holiday than the 25th December because it is the birthday of Jesus Christ. At the centre of the celebration is the solemn Christmas table with the home-made bread and the Christmas dishes which should be vegan and odd number (7, 9 or 11). Traditionally there is round loaf, wine, beans, rice- made 'surmy', dried fruits, nuts, honey, boiled sweet wheat, and other dishes.

Once the table is arranged everyone sits at the same time and none should leave the table until the dinner is over. Usually the eldest woman raises the round- loaf and says a pray for health and prosperity for the family. Then she would break the bread and hand a piece to everyone. In some families half of the bread is put under the icon of the Holy Mother.

Everyone should try a bit of each dish on the table and when the dinner is over all leave the table at the same time. The table should not be cleaned until the morning. This is done due to the belief that dead people from the family would come during the night to taste the meals and to take care of the welfare of their relatives.

According to the older traditions the young ladies have to keep the first bit of the bread and put it under their pillows and dream about their future husbands. Every person on the table would get a walnut and check if it is good inside. This would predict whether he or she would be lucky during the following year. There are many other traditions connected with the prosperity, the livestock and crops as well as with the health and happiness of the family members.

The 25th December is the first day of Christmas. The families gather for lunch. Traditionally the meal is rich and the main course is pork. Again there is home- made round bread and wine.

Giving presents on Christmas is not part of the Orthodox tradition so people would open their presents on the evening of 24th, on 25th or on the New Year's day depending on their own preference.

During communism the state restricted the celebration of Christmas as religion was in contradiction to the communist doctrine. Some of the traditions connected with Christmas were shifted to the New Year celebrations together with some modern traditions not connected with the church.

PropertyWise Magazine - the Newest Project of Sofia Echo Media

Sofia Echo Newspaper is the longest existing English language media in Bulgaria. The weekly newspaper is informative and professional and covers topics of interest to foreigners living in the country – both local and international news. For an annual subscription of 90 levs (46 euros) the newspaper is delivered to any location in Bulgaria.

In September the Sofia Echo Media started publishing the PropertyWise Magazine – an excellent insight of the property market with a lot of data and analyses of the developments. Two issues of the magazine are already published presenting deeper look at Bulgaria’s property market.

In addition now there is the fully functional PropertyWise website which compiles the issue before the last of the magazine and daily news updates on real estate in Bulgaria.

PropertyWise is a bi-monthly coming out the last Friday of every other month. Content of the previous issue becomes available at, as soon as the newest issue appears on the market.

Bulgarian Companies Consider Year 2006 Successful for the Business

The Bulgarian Industrial Association announced results of a poll held between managers of Bulgarian companies. 68 per cent of the interviewed said their business improved during the year 2006 and the rest 32 per cent said they maintained the same levels as in the year 2005.

According to the poll the export levels improved as well and 64 per cent of the companies exported some of their products.

Bulgaria's Ski Resorts Facing Problems before the Start of the Winter

In an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio the chief of the National Tourist Agency Mario al Djabouri announced that Pamporovo resort was not prepared to welcome tourists as the Municipality of Chepelare decided not to ban the building works for the ski season 2006/2007. Chepelare Mayor would only partially restrict traffic of trucks in the resort according to the National Radio. In addition to the problem with the ongoing construction the weather is unusually warm for the season and Pamporovo already postponed the season opening by a week.

Winter season 2006/2007 has to open in the middle of December, but none of the tracks in Bulgaria are suitable for skiing yet due to insufficient snow cover. The forecasts predict this winter to be the hottest for the past 47 years in the whole of Europe.

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