Bulgarian in Bulgaria

Visiting a Home

People having a meal

When entering a house, a guest should always ask whether to remove his/her shoes. If the host says "no" and is also wearing shoes, it probably isn't necessary. If the host is wearing slippers and offers the guest slippers, the guest should oblige (even if the host says it isn't necessary).

When coming for lunch or dinner, the guest should bring chocolates or a bottle of wine. Chocolate bars for the host's children are also appreciated. Flowers are appropriate for special occasions such as birthdays and should be given to the woman of the house. For a child's birthday, the guest should bring flowers for the child's mother. Flowers are not given to males. Bottles of special wine or other alcoholic beverages are also appropriate for special occasions.

Guests should follow the schedule set by the host. If told to arrive at 7:00 pm, one should plan to arrive 5 to 10 minutes after but no later. Dinners are usually leisurely, with guests visiting at length over dessert. Lunch usually lasts from 12:30 or 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Traditionally, the hours between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. are reserved for resting, but the rest period may be suspended for a special occasion. One does not telephone or visit during the afternoon rest period unless specifically invited to do so.

At mealtime, a host or hostess will serve guests first and themselves last. The guest should wait to begin eating until the hostess eats. Various particular points of ettiquete include: leaving one's napkin on the table, keeping hands out of the lap, and not putting elbows on the table. It is acceptable for guests to help themselves to seconds and to not be shy about saying, "no, thank you."

The typical meal will be served in courses. First some type of alcoholic beverage and a salas will be served; then a cold or hot soup will come. After that, there will be a small, first course, a main course of meat, potatoes and vegetables. Dessert will follow often with coffee or tea. Common beverages include water, juice, soft drinks and alcohol. Foreign visitors invited to dinner will often be served "rakia" (a special Bulgarian brandy with a very high alcohol concentration) and "shoposka salta" (a salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, occasionally peppers, and a feta-like cheese).


  • "From Shoes to Slippers"
    Transcript document:
  • "Beginning a Meal"
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  • "No thank you, I am full."

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