winter in mogilino

winter in mogilino

In a couple of months I will have had a house in Mogilino for two years and right from the get-go this village felt like home. Quite apart from the breath-taking scenery, it is a friendly, welcoming place to be. I often wonder however, how the other villagers really perceive us incomers. Certainly, as British, it’s automatically assumed that you have ‘Money’ and equally, it is hoped, that you’ll be able to provide at least some type of short-term employment.

I suppose in comparison we are ‘wealthy’, at least in terms of having cash coming in. But what Bulgarians often fail to appreciate is the one thing that most of us westerners strive our whole lives to achieve – the elusive, fully paid for, mortgage free home – they have in spades. Often owing more than property, it is one reason for the abundance of abandoned houses that are on offer across the country at bargain basement prices.

My welcome into the village has been warm and help always at hand, no matter what problems have come my way. But having a career that doesn’t include physical work has bestowed on me a level of respect that I don’t believe is warranted. Even after I explain that I’ve spent most of my working life hip deep in horse shit, and grafting is something I’m well acquainted with, it makes no difference. So now I feel obligated to be a writer that someone wants to read!

I must confess that I’ve always been a little concerned about people’s reactions when they first find out what it is that I write. Not the blog stuff, the general rambling about my life. But about me and my Pagan roots. Religion is a funny thing as we all know, and I’m still unsure as to how these things are perceived here in Bulgaria. Particularly in the villages.



  1. Think of Bulgarian traditions as leftover religion and left-over old wives’ tales.. A few examples:

    There’s a lot of 40-days thing happening around the holidays or death or birth. What I mean – some people would fast for 40 days before Christmas, have a gathering 40 days after someone died or was born, etc… (1) there’s the 40 martyrs, (2) there’s the fact that keeping your baby away from the outside world for the first month makes sense.

    We have a ton of name days which come from the names of saints, yet we don’t really go to church or know these saints..

    Slavic names are rooted in religion, too. My name is Iana and it comes from Ioan which means “God is kind”, therefore Iana is kindness.

    Lots of people wear crosses but I have always viewed it as more of a “good luck” charm, rather than a symbol of belief.

    I am in a bit of a hurry but wanted to provide some answers so I hope this helped a bit in understanding our religious standing. I’d love to keep trying to explain, so if there’s something of that nature that I can help out with, please, feel free ask 🙂

      • I felt what I wrote was so straightforward and short that it was borderline rude!! I hope it didn’t come across that way and if it did – I apologize! At first I was searching around about life in Bulgaria for foreigners and came across your site – saw your latest post and was eager to respond. I just read your About section and googled Pegan but I am still confused as you can really understand where the person stands in context. But Bulgarian people are in a way spiritual. I don’t know if you’ve heard of “Baba Vanga” ( is one of the most respected people. Although mostly by older people. We don’t hold any grudges towards anyone’s beliefs since we are not typically interested in religion. As long as you’re a good soul (we do believe in souls), you’re fine. I never had any touch to religion growing up – my parents are very scientific but I don’t push my views on anyone and I expect the same. And I have friends who are VERY religious but I would never have anything against something that makes someone happy and content. I feel this is a typical Bulgarian understanding. You must have seen so many people and cultures – people are different and the same everywhere in a way. Bulgarians are superstitious, though. To protect someone from magic we would keep a red string as a bracelet on one hand. Evil eye, too. I know a lot of people go to fortune tellers.

        And I really kind gardening too. I was just back home in Bulgaria and was planting all kinds of plants I brought back home over the weekend. I just thought I’d end on a note where I saw we have something in common. 🙂

      • Not rude at all! Yes, I have found Bulgarians to be very tolerant of others ways of living. I don’t think of being Pagan as being particularly religious or not in the way that one might be a devout Christian, for instance.
        For me it is primarily away of being and seeing the world, but just mention Pagan and you will see a change in another’s demeanor! Visions of Satanic masses etc must dance before their eyes!! Actually that’s no longer the case….but it was, especially living in a lot of very rural areas. Thank you Iana for introducing yourself, it’s lovely to meet you.

      • Also I don’t mean superstitious in an offensive way, this is just the word I know in English for, well, this kind of thing. I only learned a month ago that calling someone childish is offensive. Understanding someone’s true definitions is truly amazing and I am always aware of miscommunication.

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