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Bulgarian Folklore Enthusiasts from 11 European Countries Hold Festival in Copenhagen

Enthusiasts of traditional Bulgarian music and dance held a festival in Copenhagen Saturday. “We are extremely proud that we were able to reunite in person even though we are a smaller group than in previous years,” organizer Nikolay Stoyanov said in his opening remarks.
The festival is entitled In the Square of the Other Bulgaria, where “the other Bulgaria” is a reference to the Bulgarian communities abroad. It  brought together 28 Bulgarians from 11 countries in Europe.   “Even if there is just one Bulgarian – anywhere in the world, not just in Europe – it is also Bulgaria there,” Stoyanov said. 
Special guests at the event were Vice President Iliana Iotova, Bulgaria’s Ambassador to Denmark Svetlan Stoev and BTA Director General Kiril Valchev.
Anita Ekimova from the organizing team said in her remarks that the love that brings together all Bulgarian folklore enthusiasts “makes our days warmer and we feel as we do when we are at home”. 
During the opening ceremony Nikolay Stoyanov received an icon of Sts. Cyril and Methodius as a gift from Vice President Iotova. 
Vice President: “In the town square, we feel united and strong”
Addressing the opening of the festival, Bulgarian Vice President Iotova said that in the town square people feel united and strong. The “square” was a reference to the title of the event. “It is a long-standing Bulgarian tradition to gather in the town square. It is not just a square, a meeting place: for us Bulgarians it is a metaphor for our human existence. It is the place where we observe our traditions and sing our songs that keep us alive as a people and a nation,” said the Vice President.
“Anywhere I go in the world, there is no greater happiness to me than hearing the beautiful Bulgarian language, watching the dances, listening to the songs,” Yotova said.
She thanked the participants in the festival and the horo dance earlier in the day for making her feel “more than a guest this year, and be a part of you, a part of this amazing, beautiful and colorful Bulgarian holiday.”
Ambassador Stoev:  People Don’t Choose Their Mother and Motherland
In his remarks to the participants in the festival, Ambassador Svetlan Stoev said that there are two things one does not get to choose in life: their mother and their motherland. “You love and cherish, and you respect them. Your being here proves that Bulgaria is in your hearts and you have my respect for what you do to keep the traditions alive, no matter where you are,” the diplomat said.
The ambassadors of the UK, Germany, Italy, Cyprus, Serbia and the Czech Republic were among the guests at the event.
BTA Director General: BTA helps Bulgarians abroad be one community
Addressing the participants in the festival, BTA Director General Kiril Valchev said that BTA helps Bulgarians abroad be one community. He told them that BTA has a special service for news from and about Bulgarians abroad. 
He called this BTA special service “a network for knowledge about the Bulgarian communities around the world, intended for us, the Bulgarians in Bulgaria, but also for knowledge among the Bulgarians themselves, scattered all over the land”.
He added that BTA already has press clubs in towns abroad with old Bulgarian communities including Bosilegrad, Taraclia, Skopje. He mentioned the agency’s plans to open one in Bucharest, Athens and Bolgrad.
In his words, BTA can promote events like the one in Copenhagen because it has contracts with partners in Europe, including Reuters, France Press, DPA, ANSA, BELGA and 8 other Balkan news agencies. “We are in talks for partnership with many more agencies, including the Danish one”, Valchev said.
He told the guests and participants in the festival three stories that connect Bulgaria and Denmark. One is about Hans Christian Andersen, who visited the Bulgarian lands in 1841 during his European journey and wrote about his visit in а travelogue where he tells of how some things there looked and felt so Danish to him. The second Bulgarian-Danish story is about Prince Valdemar of Denmark, who almost became a Bulgarian prince, respectively king, after Bulgaria’s independence: he was elected to become the Bulgarian Prince in October 1886 but was forced to withdraw and Ferdinand became Prince instead. The third story is about the Varna Palace near Aarhus, which was built in 1908 for the Danish National Exhibition on an estate of Christian A. Gersdorff, the Baron of Marselisbord Manor, a general in the Russian army during the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, who was briefly in Varna (where legend has it that he fell in love with a local girl) and Silistra in Bulgaria. After returning to Denmark, he named his two mills Varna and Silistra, and in 1913 he began to hold a Varna Soiree with actors, musicians, opera singers and poetry recitals at the Varna Palace. 
According to Valchev, these three Bulgaria-Denmark stories have three lessons for Bulgarians: that they should always carry their homeland in their heart like Andersen, that they should trust in themselves and not look to princes from foreign lands and that they should always be guided by love.