The modern times with their dynamics have inevitably brought the European standards and culture to the large Turkish territory. It can be seen everywhere but mostly in the major cities, in the external look of the buildings, in the shops, in the style of dressing, in the day-to-day life, etc. It exists at the same time together with the marks of the traditional Islamic culture (more often in the villages and in the small towns of the East and South East regions).
The Turkish cuisine is well known with the abundance of choice of seafood (especially in the coastal areas). Included in the menu predominantly are the shish kebab and the other kinds of roast meat (among them the dunner kebab is most popular - slices of meat, put on a vertically rotated pick). Rice is something typical for the Turkish cuisine, served as a garnish or with the main dish (the pilaf for example). Rice is the ingredient in some sweet dishes too. Other typical meals are the filled peppers, the sarmi and the patladjans, as well as many kinds f soups (the patcha, the tripe soup, the kurban, etc.), the mezes, the pasta and the sweets, the dried fruits and the nuts… Coffee and tea are favourite too.
The Turks in Bulgaria
"The vast majority of the Bulgarians consider now the Turks as being either the legacy of a distant and tragic past or today's compatriots from an ethnic religious minority that has often been a source of troubles and political tension10".
The religion. ". . . the Islam on the Balkans and particularly in Bulgaria has always been a syncretic one, different from the other pure forms of this school of thought. Adapting itself to the Bulgarian soil, the Islam has bit by bit created some specific religious forms, making it to be not too hostile and alien to the local Christian people". "The Turks in Bulgaria" bear a century-old cultural tradition. They consider themselves as being mostly "European Muslims" and are alien to every form of religious fanaticism".
As the Muslim faith prescribes, the Turks in Bulgaria are abiding by the strict traditions, customs and day-to-day rituals11.
"The Turkish community has a very clear and uniform understanding about its ethnic origin and religious integrity . . . If a different identificational approach still exists . . . it refers to the civil (patriotic) identity12".
Those are people basically calm and somewhat sluggish. They are a "yavash" (inactive, slow) people. Restlessness is not inherent characteristic of theirs. This could be due mostly to the closed character of their ethnic societies, which keeps unchanged their traditional style of living.
At the same time they are hospitable and love having guests. On such occasions they will show an explicit warmness and cordiality. When seated around a table they love eating, drinking or just chatting.
They are very hard working and greatly respect their work. They will be always grateful if their labour is appreciated.
The Turks in Bulgaria are strongly bound to and very much love their families. They will enjoy talking about the troubles and problems their families have. They will be glad to speak about their children. They love kids and have two, three or more children as a rule. The higher rates of birth are certainly due to some backward living standard.
The Turks in Bulgaria have in general a strong feeling for family affiliation. This is most characteristic in the small villages. Everyone will see when a family member is missing. Family relations and relatives are there very close. Among the members of the different families there is a great mutual respect. Such feelings might be sometimes a motivation for a vendetta.
In their lifestyle the Turks in Bulgaria are mostly conservative. Some of them are still less educated. This is most typical of the women, who as a rule must be primarily bound to set up home (women will get married early). After they can feel better and comfortably, as tradition prescribes.
Those people have a strong sense of honour and dignity. The friendship for them is very important, but they will prefer to keep their close contacts and bosom friends inside their own community.
In their relationships they are sensitive and sentimental and could become very touchy to a hostile tone or to an arrogant or rude attitude.
What are the Greeks like? The Greeks in Bulgaria
Just like every other people from the South and by the Sea, the Greeks have a flaming and jovial temper. But they will be quick-tempered and very easily burst into anger. They are self-respecting.
The Greeks are prone to part quickly with the old-fashioned ideas, leaving the door open for the new coming things. They are alien to conservatism, but will respect the traditional values of their families. There are some among them that still believe a humiliation can be "washed" by blood only.
The Greeks enjoy talking about politics and are very opinionated thereof. This quality of theirs is as popular as their firm belief that every Greek was born to be a trader.
Career and glory seekers. Everyone is fighting for better positions within their own political party. Party leaders look for ministerial seats every time. Being a Minister for just a day, one will be addressed to as "Mister Minister" until the end of their days13.
They hanker after the quick rise in the job hierarchy. They love feeling "important" and being respected more than their social status really deserves14. They will not stay indifferent towards the praises towards them, their families and relatives.
In general the Greeks know the ancient Hellenic culture and will never miss a chance to show their knowledge about15. They welcome every interest that one might have in their own history. But they get angry, if one's ideas are better than their own.
They have a national feeling that is well developed and could even turn into chauvinism sometimes. This is mostly valid for the Athenians - they claim Athens is the most beautiful city in the world.
They can rarely be persuaded.
The Greeks are outgoing. They are very easy to make contact with and only a couple of days later they will come to you calling you "an old friend of mine" in the most familiar way. But they know what the price of friendship is. If a Greek really trusts a friend, he would be ready to do anything for him.
The "peacock complex" is something in their blood - they feel quite normal when bragging about their "close" acquaintances and high connections, Ministers, MPs or prominent intellectuals. Very often nothing is behind such phony phrases.
The Greeks can easily promise something and just forget about on the next day. They will after that only try to justify the things promised and undone. They are more honest in their business contacts.
They are great money-lovers. The frequent econo-mic crashes made them disillusioned with their own national currency. That is why they always try to invest their savings in gold. They can make their bills very well and are very pragmatic in their day-to-day expenses.
Corruption is omnipresent, with all walks of life in this country - everybody is taking bribes or "bakshish".
When endangered, they react emotionally, rather than rationally.
Very big attention is being paid to one's appearance. Greek women would enjoy wearing smart, but stuffy clothes. Their houses are tastefully furnished and clean, but with some commonness too.
Getting married in Greece is a serious problem. The dot is very popular and even obligatory in some places, as being a sign of decency and nobleness. In some cases the young girls are doomed to stay unmarried or get married older because of failure to provide the dot demanded. This would be the reason why there are betrothals that last for years there. Many unequal (difference of age) marriages could be seen there16.
In such cases many of them tend to "transform" the girls' dot in good education studies, preferably abroad.
The mother will often be the strongest arm of the family - she deals presumably with the problems and is the policy maker of the family. Nevertheless, the "head" of it is formally the man.
There is not a large Greek community in Bulgaria at present. The December 1992 census data show some 8 000 people stating Greek as their mother tongue. In Bulgaria "the Greeks were and still are predominantly urban people, mainly oriented to business and mediation activities". Today there are still regions in Bulgaria, where the Greek communities and elites "unbeatably hold the dominating position, which only develops in the Bulgarian Renaissance society the reaction to reject anything that until recently was called "the Greek yoke".
In their history the Bulgarians often associated the word "Greek" with the word "salesman" or "savant, literate". But for some of the contemporary Bulgarians the word "Greek" is associated with "Byzantine", synonym for perfidy and treacherousness.
Shaping the social-psychological characteristics of the genuine Bulgarian is a tough job. If accomp-lished correctly, one will have to take into consideration the specific interpretations of the different history periods.
Attempts to draw the Bulgarian's profile are often supposed to point out the specific periods of the Bulgarian history. One of the most often used categories thereto is "before the Ottoman domination and after that". The period "after that" still remains incompletely surveyed. Especially when talking about the time after the year 1944.
In the period before the Ottoman invasion there had been times of great upsurge in the country's development, time of highest national spirits and social impulses. This period was marked with many brilliant examples of political boldness and statecraft. Most of these e patterns of the national character degraded or vanished forever after the country fell under the Ottoman domination. Many new negative traits appeared instead that are still alive in the Bulgarian character. However, there's one thing that was most typical of the whole history of our people - the great amount of troubles and the tough will of the Bulgarians to fight and overcome them.
Among the qualities, acquired during the second major period of our history, there could be asserted features as the lack of historical audacity and courage. During those times fear filled the Bulgarian national character. The Bulgarian policies were penetrated by a kind of acquiescing sentiment that was in no way the result of some racial or genetic malformation, but was molded as a sustainable national quality by the historical fate, by the blood itself, the pain and the lack of other historical chances.
By strange caprice of history, it was namely the inferiority complex and the adaptive reactions which saved the Bulgarians from the total extermination and secured their long lasting historical presence on the Balkans. These features are a kind of specific and relevant reaction of every single individual and of the social communities as well. The survival of our people depended on their capacity to comply with the realities of life and to adequately face the objective processes.
The survival and the self-conservation go well together with the industriousness, which is another important trait of the Bulgarian character.
The "lack of chances in history" has largely contributed to the appearance of other specific qualities of the Bulgarian character as nihilism and its queer antithesis - megalomania. Both happen to be the roots of the "philia" and the "phobia" that put their mark on large periods of the Bulgarian political history.
The Bulgarian national nihilism appears to be the legacy of the grave historical hardships and tragedies lived by our people, of the painful slavery, of the missed chances to recover the losses. The megalomania is rooted in our history, being mostly bound to the bright hope for the new Renaissance era of the Bulgarian existence and expectations. Nihilism has a persistent and stable place in our souls, while megalomania breaks out sometimes as a brief and spontaneous reaction to different negative social-psychological factors.
A deep imprint on the psychology of the Bulgarians was made by the collision between the tradition and the modern trends. The traditions had always been an expression of the century-old developed patriarchal conservatism, based mostly on the specific conditions of life. The new trends of the world development, coming in from the West in the late 19th and during the first years of the 20th century, led to the "Bulgarization" of many new ideas and achievements, when interpreted through the Bulgarian traditional ways. These were times when the Bulgarians were trying to join the European progress and prosperity. They were "copying" and imitating, but this "copying" left sustainable marks in their character. One of them is that the Bulgarians, are still lagging behind. For that reason the lack of national self-reliance was very noticeable at many moments of our history. But once again, just like out of spite, our predecessors proved themselves as widely open to the forthcoming future. Because of that we are always eager to learn and understand what other people's achievements are.
The favourable geographical position of the Bulgarian lands and their fertility are often considered as impeding factors to the industrial development of the country. Thus the economic underdeve-lopment could be explained as mostly due to the delayed awareness of "the modern times' sign", as well as to the lack of serious historical experience.
Tracing the social class dissociation could help to further explain the social-psychological characteristics of the different class representatives. For example, the moral image of the capitalist is characterised as "emptied from every humaneness". It turned just into "a dry book keeper, an emanation of pure greed". Egoism became a dominating moral feature, still present in the psychology of the Bulgarians.
On the other hand, the Bulgarians are compassionate and always ready to help17. This nourished the responsiveness, which is too typical for the Bulgarian character (whilst being sometimes spoiled by the influence of some specific events).
Are the Bulgarians hospitable? The traditional studies say rather YES. This quality is being allegedly valid until now. It could be assessed as one of the signs of compassion and readiness to help.
The privations, insufficiency and poverty made the Bulgarians very thrifty ones. This was mostly due to their traditional life styles and morality. In some cases this quality could degrade to a parsimony.
The Bulgarians were often compelled to economize on their food. This has made them possessive and miserly-like to some extent. But they were brought to that by the long years of hard working and poverty and they suffered their own little wealth. This evoked (in several historical periods) a phenomenon when a single human personality was likely to represent one separate economic and moral unit.
This would be the only underlying reason for the individualism of the Bulgarians. As a moral phenomenon it occurs every time, when a single unit determines the course of the social development, only driven by its private interests.
Individualism as a moral feature has been largely commented in the Bulgarian social-psychological studies. But its evaluation and interpretations are not uniform. The differences appeared first with disputing the thesis ("Are in fact the Bulgarians individualists?" - by enumerating different group forms of social behaviour and of mutual aid), through defining different "positive" and "negative" effects (e.g. "Good men are individualists" versus "How come that we are so good, but we can never walk all together . . . just look at the Germans. . .") to provide at the end some advice to the current educational practices.
It is being also pointed out that under the specific conditions of history individualism can lead to complacency, strife for acknowledgement and lust for glory as well. But it would also awake the ingenuity and the energy (too typical for the Bulgarian spirit!?).
Romania18 is a Republic. The country is being administratively divided into 41 districts (Bucharest inclusive). There are 262 cities. Major centers are Bucharest, Konstanza, Yash, Timishoara, Galaz, Breshov, Kluj Napoka, Kraijova, etc.
According to the 1992 census data, Romania has 22 760 449 inhabitants. The urban population is 2 million bigger than the rural one. The ethnic composition is as follows: Romanians - more than 89%; Hungarians - over 7%; over 1.5% gypsies; 1.5-2% - other (among them Bulgarians).
The active workers in the country are circa 10 m. Among them 3.5 m are agricultural and around 3 m are industrial workers19.
The most effective branches of the economy are the industry (mainly oil and car industries (and the agriculture (field farming and cattle breeding). Great is the country's potential to develop tourism.
Orthodox faith is the mostly spread religion in Romania. According to the 1992 census data, circa 87% of the Romanians claimed themselves as Orthodox, 6% as Catholics and less than 4% as adepts of other religions.
The customs and beliefs of the Romanians are a mixture between the archaic traditions, some Latin inherited traits and several later acquired mainly Slavic components.
Among the calendar customs noteworthy are the following: