The contemporary holiday calendar of Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" includes the Patron's Day, initiation of the first-year students to the academic society, the promotions, and the Student Day (8th December).
The University joins the national holiday devoted to the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius Day - 24th May.
THE PATRON'S DAY
Bulgarian Orthodox Church honours the deeds of the seven scholars (the holy brothers St. Cyril and St Methodius' seven acolytes) on 27th July. St. Kliment Ohridski's Day is celebrated on 25th November.
In 1890 the Scientific Council declared the annual celebration to be held on 1st October. The ex-Rector reported on the status of the University and the new Rector gave a speech on a scientific issue.
In 1897, the annual celebration and paying respect to the donators Evlogy and Christo Georgiev was suggested to be 3rd October. In 1902 the Academic Council pronounced 25th November (the day of St. Kliment Ohridski) to be the Patron’s Day. The first official celebration of the day was in 1903 its grandeour subdued due to the Ilindnsko-Preobrazensko Revolt. The 25th jubilee was also a plain celebration, due to the World War I this time. The 40th anniversary of the University had the same faith because of the big earthquake. The first grand celebration was in 1939, the University’s 50th anniversary, and it was spread over five days from 20th to 25th May.
In 1916 the Georgian calendar was introduced, and the Parton’s Day moved on 8th December.
Тhe celebrations climax was the 100th jubilee. The preparations started in 1986, with mass media reports, conferences, meetings throughout the country, concerts, art programmes, etc.
After having accepted the Julian calendar back in 1968, the Patron’s Day was moved back to 25th October, and 8th December remains a Student Day. Thus lecturers and students celebrate two academic Days, which have same origin.
110th anniversary was celebrated on 25th November 1998. The programme included events such as founding ‘Association of Sofia University Alumni and Friends’, laying wreaths at the monuments of St. Kliment Ohridski and Sts Cyril and Methodius, an official meeting and a concert at the National Theatre ‘Ivan Vazov’.
The Patron’s Day is also celebrated on 27th July, the Assumption of St Kliment Ohridski and The Seven Saints. The 1000th anniversary of this Assumption was planned to be marked by building a monument of the great educators; as proposed by Prof. Balan, a special committee was established. However, the date was marked modestly by a plaque in the place of the monument, due to the World War I.
FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS’ INITIATION
Since 1888, the first-year student initiation is celebrated on 1st October – the date of the opening of the academic year. About 5,000 young people join the academic life of Sofia University each year on that date.
Another great day in the academic life is the promotion: according the tradition it means the gaining of an academic degree and diploma of higher education. Especially solemn is the awarding of the honorary title Doctor Honoris Causa. The first to be awarded an honorary title was Exarch Josef I, in April, 1902. The second one was the great Bulgarian writer Ivan Vazov, who received a honorary title on his 70th jubilee in 1920. The third was tsar Boris III, who was recognized as a devoted patron of Sofia University, in 1928. 319 names of Bulgarian and foreign scientists and public figures follow.
The graduate promotion is an equally solemn act. Since the end of 1934, when the first buildings of the university were inaugurated, the Academic Council stated that the promotions were to be hold in the Aula, following a special procedure. The promotion today is held during the Days of Culture in May.
Since the 80s of the ХХ c. traditionally the Parton’s Day is preceded by readings, talks, promotions, concerts.
DAYS OF CULTURE IN MAY
Sofia University actively participates in the national celebrations of the Day of Sts Cyril and Methodius (24th May) during the Days of Culture in May. Meetings, lectures delivered by renowned scientists, book promotions, exhibitions and many other events are part of these Days.
Bulgarian students have always had the same liking to express themselves just as the European traditions go: initiation rituals, balls, etc. Yet, since the dawn of the academic life in Bulgaria, the best time they have is after the official ceremonies: clubs, private places and canteens are the place to have all-night parties with music, dances, festivities, usually a bit too passionate and unruly. Guests to these parties are lecturers, artists, alumni.
Today the celebrations are planned a month in advance, and for the first-year students it is usually the most memorable event as they join the festivities for the first time.