What Do You Celebrate on May 9th? Our Readers Have Spoken

Novinite Insider | May 17, 2024, Friday // 16:00
Bulgaria: What Do You Celebrate on May 9th? Our Readers Have Spoken

On May 9th, a survey conducted on our media’s Facebook page sparked significant interest and engagement, shedding light on how people commemorate this historically significant day. The survey asked participants, "What do you celebrate today?" referring to the dual observances of Europe Day and Victory Day. Out of 87 respondents, 64 chose "Europe Day" (approximately 73.6%), while 23 selected "Victory Day" (about 26.4%).

Europe Day: A Celebration of Unity and Cooperation

Europe Day, celebrated annually on May 9th, marks the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration of 1950, which laid the groundwork for the European Union. This day symbolizes the values of unity, peace, and cooperation across the continent. In Bulgaria, the day is celebrated with various events led by President Rumen Radev and Vice President Iliana Yotova. They honor the occasion by laying flowers at the Monument to the Unknown Warrior, commemorating both Europe Day and the 79th anniversary of Victory over Nazism.

Events across Bulgaria include a public discussion on European dialogue, military rituals, the unveiling of a peace monument, and a festive concert organized by the European Commission. Cultural highlights, such as the "Literary Europe" exhibition, further emphasize the importance of this day.

Victory Day: Remembering the Triumph Over Nazism

Victory Day, also observed on May 9th, marks the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. While former Soviet states officially celebrate this day, the European Union and the United States commemorate Victory over Germany Day on May 8th. Despite the difference in dates, the essence of remembrance remains the same, honoring those who fought against fascism.

In Bulgaria, various political parties and organizations participate in solemn processions, such as the "Immortal Regiment - Bulgaria" initiative, which honors the contributions of ordinary people in defeating fascism. Russia, meanwhile, holds military parades to symbolize resilience and strength. This year's parade in Moscow was particularly notable due to the ongoing geopolitical tensions and the conflict in Ukraine.

A Dual Celebration with Shared Values

The dual observance of Victory Day and Europe Day highlights the interconnected history and shared values of democracy, freedom, and solidarity. As Bulgaria celebrates both occasions, political leaders, including Kornelia Ninova of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, emphasize the importance of honoring those who sacrificed their lives during World War II and the need to prevent the resurgence of fascist ideologies. Ninova, along with other BSP figures, participated in the traditional raising of the EU flag, demonstrating a commitment to European values.

Controversy and Historical Memory

The celebration of May 9th is not without controversy. In Dupnitsa, Bulgaria, the display of the Russian flag alongside the Bulgarian and EU flags outside the Municipality led to heated debates. Former MP Nikolay Tabakov, now a municipal councilor, protested by removing the Russian flag, only for Mayor Parvan Dangov to reinstate it. This incident, further inflamed by the playing of Russian songs during the celebrations, highlights the complex relationship between Bulgaria and Russia, especially in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its declaration of Bulgaria as an "enemy state."

Mayor Dangov's actions drew scrutiny, particularly after he disclosed that the State Agency "National Security" (SANS) had urged him to remove the flag. This controversy underscores broader issues of historical memory and public space in Bulgaria.

A Reflection of Current Sentiments

The survey results reflect current sentiments and the diverse ways in which May 9th is perceived and celebrated. While a majority of participants chose to celebrate Europe Day, emphasizing unity and cooperation, a significant minority honored Victory Day, highlighting the enduring legacy of World War II and the sacrifices made to defeat fascism. This dual celebration serves as a reminder of the complex and intertwined histories that shape contemporary Europe.

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Tags: victory, europe, Day, May

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