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Today’s Observances: Jan. 14 and 15

January 14
– Roma Christians in Bulgaria celebrate Bango Vassil (New Year).
On this date in Bulgarian history:
1835: Bulgaria’s first secular school using monitorial (also called Lancasterian) system opens in Gabrovo (Central Bulgaria) on Vassil Aprilov’s initiative.
1873: Prominent revolutionary Vassil Levski sentenced to death.
1878: Pazardjik (South Central Bulgaria) is liberated from Ottoman rule during 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War.
1901: First tram service launched in Sofia, marking start of electric transport in Bulgaria.
1964: Diplomatic relations with Sweden are upgraded to embassy status (established on June 6, 1914 at legation level).
1994: Diplomatic relations are established with Guatemala.
2005: National Assembly ratifies Memorandum of Understanding between European Community and Republic of Bulgaria on Bulgaria’s Participation in Safer Internet Programme.
2008: National Assembly authorizes commitment of Bulgarian military contingent of up to 155 service members to continue country’s participation in humanitarian mission for perimeter security of Multi-National Force – Iraq Temporary Interview and Protection Facility (TIPF) northeast of Baghdad.
January 15
On this date in Bulgarian history:
1879: Sofia Public Library (today’s National Library), established on December 10, 1878, opens to readers.
1895: Bulgarian poet Geo Milev was born. He was the key exponent of expressionism in Bulgarian literature, journalist, and translator, perhaps best known for his epic poem Septemvri, written in the aftermath of the Communist-led September Uprising. In 1925, Milev was sentenced to 1 year in prison for the poem, and shortly afterwards he was summoned for “routine check” by police and disappeared without a trace.
1937: New electoral law granting married, widowed and divorced women the right to elect (but not the right to be elected) is endorsed by King Boris III.
1992: Bulgaria recognizes independence of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
1999: Government sets up Encouragement Bank (transformed into Bulgarian Development Bank on April 23, 2008).