Sunday, August 9, 2009


New to the Cyrillic alphabet and with a very limited vocabulary, one of the first questions I had upon arriving in Bulgaria pertained to the notices I was seeing everywhere with peoples photos and a short write-up. To my eye, they looked like wanted posters or missing people posters. In a way, that’s what they are. It is an old Bulgarian tradition to post obituaries (некролози) in public. An obituary typically includes the name of the deceased, his or her date of birth and death, a photograph, and the date and place of the funeral. It varies from region to region, but an obituary generally remains posted on gates outside homes, or on doors outside apartment blocks, at least a year. Obituaries posted at bus stations, train stations, and in other more public spots remain up until covered by someone else’s obituary or taken down by cleaners. Again, it varies from region to region, but obituaries are then reposted on certain anniversaries of one’s death. It’s an interesting tradition which may not be unique to Bulgaria but which I don’t recall observing in any of the more than sixty other countries I’ve visited around the world.

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