Independence Day in Bulgaria

In 1908, Bulgaria gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire, and that’s why the 22nd of September is celebrated in this country as Independence Day. Although this day has been observed on some level throughout Bulgaria’s history, it wasn’t observed as an official holiday until 1998.

This is when the day became a public holiday. Because of this change, many government offices, schools, and businesses are closed for the day. This holiday is observed on a widespread basis all across Bulgaria and is celebrated with open-air concerts, parades, speeches from government officials, wreath-laying ceremonies, and special church services.

The History of Independence Day in Bulgaria

Since the 14th century, Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire. Then, in the latter half of the 19th century, uprisings across the Ottoman Empire spread to Bulgaria. The empire tried to put down these revolts using harsh tactics, and in response, the international community strongly condemned their use of force.

In 1877, Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire, and this resulted in Bulgaria becoming a principality within the Ottoman Empire. The Bulgarian principality extended its area, and on September 22, 1908, Prince Ferdinand of Bulgaria declared the country’s independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Although the holiday was celebrated for many years, it wouldn’t be until September 10, 1998, that the holiday became a declared public holiday in Bulgaria. It’s been celebrated officially ever since.

Observing Independence Day in Bulgaria

This holiday is celebrated in much the same way as any other country’s Independence Day celebrations. There are concerts and parades, the raising of the Bulgarian flag, and a party-like atmosphere across the country.

There is also food, fireworks, and speeches delivered by local leaders and national politicians. Some of the largest celebrations in the country occur in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, where Bulgaria first declared its independence.

Where is it celebrated?
Bulgaria (National holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
September 22 Sunday
Next year (2025)
September 22 Monday
Last year (2023)
September 22 Friday