BUILDING A NEW IDENTITY ON RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS: A CASE STUDY OF A VILLAGE IN SOUTH-WESTERN BULGARIA
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The article deals with the restored role and significance of religion in Bulgarian society after the political change in 1989. The revived interest in religion covers a wider scope than the specific spiritual one: many shrines develop or reaffirm their significance as the identity marks of their region or of various ethnic and confessional groups. The case of St. Nedelya’s chapel near the village of Garmen is analysed. As a result of the author’s work as a scholar and of the activities on a civil project aimed at investigating and reviving the traditional heritage, the chapel itself, the religious narratives relevant to it and its two holidays become emblematic symbols for the local community. Subsequently the building of St. Anne’s church in the centre of the village is completed and a great number of villagers visit it on the big Christian holidays.
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