On 8th March ladies will receive greeting cards and gentlemen will be cheered up with wine and kebapcheta
The Mayor of Arbanasi said that the village is ready to welcome its guests with 300 kepapcheta*, 30 litres of wine and 300 greeting cards for International Women’s Day. Veliko Tarnovo’s brass band will keep up the good mood throughout the day. This year the so-called Horse Easter coincides with the annual celebration of women’s day. Arbanasi’s Mayor joked that this is his lucky year because he will not have to spend money twice and the double celebration will be covered in one bill.
On Saturday the residents of Arbanasi will mark Todorov Den* for the 24th time. Many events will be organized throughout the day. The day will start with a horse procession along the streets of the village. At 11.30 am jockeys will be greeted by His Eminence the Metropolitan Bishop Grigoriy of Veliko Tarnovo. The Minister of Youth and Sports Prof. Mariana Georgieva is also invited. It is now a tradition that the Sports Minister visits the horse feast in Arbanasi each year because the Equestrian Club in the village is one of the leading in the country.
There will also be a contest for the most beautifully adorned horse as well as horse racings. Winners in different competitions will receive prizes.
*Kebapche is a traditional Bulgarian dish with oblong form that is grilled; it is made of minced meat and spices.
*Todorov Den – people with names like Todor and Theodor have their names celebrated on that day; also according to old traditions many horse races are being organized throughout the country.
A blossomed tree adorned with a martenitsa
On 1st March Bulgarians celebrate a centuries-old tradition and exchange martenitsi (small pieces of adornment made of white and red yarn) on what is called the day of Baba Marta. The tradition of giving friends red and white interwoven strings is said to bring health and happiness during the year and is a reminder that spring is near. Baba Marta (which literally means “Granny March”) is the name of a mythical figure that brings with her the end of the cold winter and the beginning of the spring. She is a feisty old lady whose mood swing very quickly. When she’s happy the weather during March is fine and when she’s cross it’s snowing. The common belief is that by wearing the red and white colours of the martenitsa people ask Baba Marta for mercy. People usually wear martenitsi until the end of March when the first signs of the coming Spring appear, namely blossoming trees or when one notices a stork. At that point men, women and children usually tie their martenitsi to a tree following the ancient tradition; thus they call for a fruitful year.
Baba Marta on 1st March last year
Baba Marta herself will arrive in Veliko Tarnovo on 1st March and together with her granddaughter Martenka will bring joy to the citizens and guests of Veliko Tarnovo. Both of them will make a tour around the town in a motley carriage adorned with many martenitsi. Their first stop will be at 10.30 am in front of the ‘Konstantin Kisimov’ Musical Drama Theatre. Then at 11.05 am the carriage will go to the square in front of Tsarevets Fortress. At 11.40 the jolly granny and her granddaughter will meet children at ‘Iskra’ Community Centre. All day long the cheery couple will give away free martenitsi.
The pastime board game is a gift from a manufacturer hoping it will increase Veliko Tarnovo’s chance of winning the ‘European capital of culture 2019’ contest
Veliko Tarnovo will receive an 8 by 8 meters long on-ground chessboard, worth approximately 2500 euros. The person who donates the chess is smitten with the town and in his opinion the chess will contribute towards Veliko Tarnovo’s efforts to win the contest.
The benefactor said that he is the only manufacturer of such on-ground chessboards in Bulgaria. The chess conforms to all world set guidelines and is in 1:10 scale compared to the standard table chess. The generous man will grant it for free because in his words Veliko Tarnovo deserves to have such an amusement.
The measurements of the base are 8 by 8 meters and the pieces are of three different sizes according to their significance – pawns are 40 cm high, rooks, nights and bishops are 60 cm and the king and queen tower at 80 cm.
According to the manufacturer the on-ground chessboard should ideally be placed within an amphitheatrical setting so that onlookers can have a good view of the moves and how the game of chess progresses. The only thing left to do for the local authorities is to find a spot for the game and help in building the tiered seats around it.
The traditional-styled buildings along the main street will be restored for free
An anonymous benefactor provided building materials for the renovation of tens of old buildings, situated along the main street in the Old historic part of Veliko Tarnovo. The generous sponsor sent many building materials such as paints, plasters, adhesives and different ornaments. The houses that will be given new life are placed along Stefan Stambolov street which leads to the renowned Tsarevets Fortress. Presently many of the structures are unsightly with crumbling façades, cracked window frames and decrepit roofs.
The owners are already informed that they have to ensure right of access to their properties. The façades and windows renovation will be for free, home-owners will only have to pay for fixing their roofs.
The citizens of Veliko Tanovo will even be spared the effort to enter their façade images projects in the National Institute of Immovable Cultural Heritage for approval. The plans are already worked out and approved and and uniform façade scheme is elaborated. The scheme is based on old photographs of Veliko Tarnovo published all over the world as early as 1877.
Similar façade plans will be drawn up for each and every street in the Old historic part of Veliko Tarnovo. All buildings, an estimate of more than 1500, were declared part of the Bulgarian cultural heritage decades ago.