In Bulgaria there are many different ethnic communities, which have been living together for centuries. They have all left their mark on Bulgarian culture by introducing new cultural elements, representative of their own people, enriching the variety of Bulgarian folklore.
The largest ethnic community in Bulgaria is the Bulgarian. Most Bulgarians belong to the Orthodox church, although there are also Bulgarian Roman Catholics, as well as Bulgarians who have a different religion, such as Islam.
The ancestors of the Bulgarians were three ethnic groups -the Thracians, the Slavs and the Proto-Bulgarians. During different historic periods, according to the political situation of the country and the world, one of the groups gained the upper hand. Information about the Thracians can be found primarily in ancient Greek sources, as the Thracians had no writing system. It is well known that in the 2nd millennium BC they already inhabited the Balkan peninsula. The Slavs appeared during the 5th century AD on the borders of the Byzantine Empire, while the Proto-Bulgarians arrived during the 7th century AD.
The festivals of the Bulgarians are associated with the Christian liturgical calendar. However, some traditions include ancient pre-Christian practices, inherited from ethnic groups which lived on the Balkan peninsula long ago. These traditions and customs have been preserved for centuries by being handed down from generation to generation. Each generation has changed and added something new and different from its understanding of the world and nature.