Written by our consultant, Nelly Tonchev
It’s summer vacation and children have more time for games and fun activities. Families can use this opportunity to shut off the tech toys and engage in favorite summer activities such as books, picnics, pool parties, barbecues, and more. Since we live in a world without borders, maybe you can go outside your comfort zones by learning about different cultures.
I write about Bulgarian mythology, folklore and cuisine, so I can offer a few ideas for the summer.
1. Dine at an ethnic restaurant
I’m sure your first idea is to dine at an ethnic restaurant and this is perfectly fine, we all love food.
This is your chance to expand your palate. See if there are any ethnic restaurants nearby that you’ve never been to. If you can’t find a Bulgarian restaurant, you can prepare your own ethnic Bulgarian meal.
My favorite is called “banitza,” but since it’s summer, I think you need to try my other favorite for the summer: Zucchini with yogurt-dill sauce
Also yogurt is a known Bulgarian specialty, healthy and tasty.
Visit our blog, “Ronesa Aveela” to explore more recipes and learn about different Bulgarian and Mediterranean dishes; try the taste of Bulgaria and the Balkans.
To discover more recipes, you can get a copy of my book, Mediterranean & Bulgarian Cuisine
2. Experience ethnic music and dance
There are plenty of ways to learn more about music in other countries. Here are some suggestions:
- Sign up for a dance class to learn Flamenco (Spansh), Polka (Czech), or the Jig (Scottish or Irish)
- Attend a concert or music festival that showcases music from different parts of the world
- Check out CDs of ethnic music at the library
Bulgarian Music and dance
Bulgarian folk music and dance are quite different from what Americans are used to. Dances are performed by men and women in lines or circles (Horo).
I’m sure you’ve heard about some in the movie 300 (Message for the Queen) and other Hollywood movies.
“Go down, go down, bright sunshine
Go down, hide your light.
Mourn for your leafs, you forest”
To learn more check out my article on Bulgarian Music and Dance.
In my book Light Love Rituals, you can learn more about the Horo and also when the dance is performed.
3. Learn about your heritage
Doing a little genealogical research with your family allows you to spend time together and reach out to distant family members. Creating a family record is a pursuit you can work on for a long time, and you never know what you might discover.
Even if your heritage is not Bulgarian, maybe you have a friend who is and you want to learn more. Visit my blog or my author page where you can find different books inspired by the rich Bulgarian traditions and mythology.
My latest book, The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village, is a good summer read to travel to the mystical world in Zmeykovo (Dragon Village) and also learn about different mythological creatures.
4. Learn about Mythology and Folklore of other cultures through crafts
Bulgarians celebrate name days, birthdays and they observe and practice many more rituals and traditions. In my Baba Treasure Chest series, I’ve described some of them.
My favorite tradition is making a Martenitsa, the white and red amulet of friendship. In the short story The Miracle Stork, I have activities and also steps on how to make your own.
If you’re traveling, some of my book are available on Audible, a perfect way to entertain the entire family until you get to your final destination. You can have an awesome trip while learning about another culture.
5. Coloring Books for the entire family
Coloring can reduce stress and be fun for the whole family. When you’re coloring, you’re not checking your smart phone, flipping channels or tweeting. In addition, my series Mermaids Around the World can help you learn more than 50 different mermaids legend around the world.