The 8th of December is a date that every student in or from Bulgaria has written in the agenda in big fat letters. And probably even marked the text, so he or she can’t forget. This day is the holiday of the students. And what started off as a day to celebrate knowledge and education, is nowadays ironically an opportunity to kill a lot of brain cells with alcohol. We simply love it.
Oh, it started off all so well in 1903. The University of the Bulgarian capital Sofia celebrated it’s 15 year anniversary with a big party. The motivation was a happy one. The university in Sofia was the first founded Bulgarian university after the country liberated in 1878 after nearly five centuries of oppression in the Ottoman Empire. So the fact that Bulgarians now could teach and study things that were prohibited before, was a reason to celebrate. So soon enough it became the national students holiday. One on which the country celebrated the fact that Bulgaria could now create its own intelligentsia and honor its youngsters who would bring the country up with their knowledge.
However nowadays the 8th of December is a day that can best be described as one big drunken orgy. The chalga clubs are fully booked many days before and everyone from the countryside travels towards the cities to get incredibly drunk with the students. The ministers, lawyers and doctors of tomorrow are in no different state. This in contrast to the doctors of today who are all on duty, as well as the nurses in the hospitals. Since in the end it can get pretty crowded in the first aid section. In 2011 yours truly ended up there himself, so we speak from experience.
But the great thing about this day is that everybody considers this to be very normal. By the end of the night you’ll find the hospital full of brave fallen soldiers from the battlefield of alcohol. Some others welter in the streets or are being dragged home by their friends. He who picks up a clear injury like a black eye doesn’t need to do a lot of explaining the next day. “What do you mean what happened? It was the 8th of December, duh!”
Now we hope we didn’t frighten you with too many negative sides of a holiday like this. Of course losing brain cells and ending up in the hospital don’t sound like great fun. But with all the stress about papers and exams students sometimes deserve a break. Probably even need a break. This is why we feel that the Bulgarian initiative needs following all over the world. A day on which students from every country say: ,,Yes, I’m an intelligent person, but not today.”