On Roosevelt Island, Is It Bulgarian Christmas Already?


Bulgarian Christmas already? Well, yeah, sort of… For me, it all started with a small parade marching along Main Street.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Discovering an early Bulgarian Christmas in New York

A little past noon, Saturday, I was talking with my sister on the phone when I looked out and saw a costumed parade approaching the subway. What was it? At a distance, it looked like, maybe, three Santas with a trailing entourage.

I gave my sister a play by play as they passed, but marching under a shady row of trees, they never got enough light for a reliable photo. And they didn’t look so much like Santas anymore either.

Bulgarian Christmas Preview
101 Kaba Gaidi, from Young Bulgarian Voices, setting up for their performance.

As luck would have it though, when I headed out for Four Freedoms, a little later, I caught up with the group in a meadow south of Cornell Tech. On a beautiful autumn day on which everyone seemed to be out, they were setting up for something.

I asked a trio of women watching, in costumes themselves. They told me they were making a video in preparation for Christmas and New Year celebrations in traditional Bulgarian style. More specifically, they were part of 101 Kaba Gaidi New York.

The group, according to their website, was born “…to teach and create awareness about the art of playing the traditional Bulgarian KABA GAIDA and TUPAN,  not only through the Bulgarian community in New York City, but also among the wide audience in the tri-state area and the entire United States.”

One of the groups coordinators is Zora Boyadzhieva, a Manhattan Park resident. Young Bulgarian Voice is dedicated to celebrating their love of Bulgarian Culture. Here’s a live performance from the Cornell Tech meadow on Saturday…


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