Bulgarian Funeral Traditionsby P-Francone
Bulgaria’s population is mostly Orthodox Christian, although Islam makes up a sizable minority.
Bulgarian Orthodox churches are very exquisite and elaborate, a description that suits the treatment the deceased body receives in Bulgarian funeral celebrations.
Funeral processions in Bulgaria are led by close family members, walking with the hearse , carrying flowers and a cross for the grave with them to the church. They are usually then followed with the hearse with an open back door, displaying the open casket. A crowd of other mourners will follow the hearse, usually including people with musical instruments, such as a drum, a symbol and horns.
Once at the church, a cleric will preside over the ceremony, and accompanies the procession to the cemetery where the proceedings are usually about half an hour long. After this, the close family will hurry to get everyone present a piece of bread. When you take and eat the bread, you must say a prayer for the deceased and ask God to forgive all of their sins.
Forty days after the funeral, a second memorial service is held, as this is the end of the official mourning period. The soul may linger around the earth during these 40 days, during which time they may return to the places they lived and frequented during life. They are said to still even follow their living routines, because death is too quick of a transition, and the soul needs time to adjust. The family is supposed to leave a meal out for the departed at the dinner table during meals, and even pretend to converse with the deceased, so that the soul will not become frustrated because no one can hear him or her. During this period, the deceased should eventually realize that they have to move on to their new existence and become reunited with God.