Bulgaria Marks the Day of Revolutionary Botev and Commemorates Liberation Heroes
Sirens are to go off across Bulgaria on Tuesday noon to commemorate the anniversary of the death of poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev.
Born on December 25, 1847 (new style: January 6, 1848) in the town of Kalofer, in the family of the teacher Botio Petkov and Ivanka Boteva, Botev began writing poetry while still in school, under the influence of the Bulgarian folklore and songs glorifying the "haiduks" - rebels and outlaws fighting the Ottoman rule.
His poetry soon became very popular and his poems turned into folklore - they were sung as folk songs without people even knowing their author's name.
In his work as a journalist, Botev became well-known with his sharp and unforgiving wit and scathing criticism not only of Ottoman rule, but also of public vices prevalent amongst Bulgarians at the time, such as selfishness, cowardice, and narrow-mindedness.
After the start of the 1876 April Uprising, which had the goal to liberate Bulgaria and is considered the apogee of the fight for independence, Botev began organizing volunteer units to help the rebels.
On June 1 Botev's unit engaged in its heaviest fight with the Turkish army. Botev was hit by a bullet and died at the foot of the Vola in the western Stara Planina mountains, near the town of Vratsa.
The following date, June 2, was officially declared as the Day of Botev and of Those Who Have Perished in the Fight for Bulgaria's Independence.
Attempts have been made over the past years to "debunk the myths" about Hristo Botev, by either labeling him "communist" or "terrorist" - or even throwing critical remarks at his "folly" to start an armed fight given the tiny ranks of his "chetniks" (the volunteers who fought along with him). Despite this he has remained one of Bulgaria's most beloved poets.
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