FUNERAL AND COMMEMORATION CEREMONIES FOR MEMBERS OF THE SOVEREIGN FAMILIES IN BULGARIAN CITIES AFTER THE LIBERATION
Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences)
Abstract: The text deals with the peculiarities of the funeral ceremonies for members of the ruling families from the Third Bulgarian Kingdom. After the Liberation of Bulgaria, four members of the sovereign families have been buried on the territory of the country – Prince Alexander I of Battenberg in 1893, Princess Maria Louise in 1899, Queen Eleonore in 1917 and Tsar Boris III in 1943.
The establishment of a new funeral culture in the Bulgarian cities after the Liberation takes place within the framework of the collective cultural processes caused by the shift in the socioeconomic conditions. Following the untimely death of Prince Alexander I of Battenberg and the fulfillment of his death wish to be buried in Bulgaria, a norm for royal burials, which until now did not exist in the cultural traditions of Bulgarian cities, was necessary to be rapidly introduced from Europe and adapted for Bulgarian conditions. The funeral of Prince Ferdinand’s first wife, Princess Maria Louise, is the first female royal funeral. Thus, gradually, at the end of the 19th century the royal burials, along with the bestowing of posthumous honors to royalties, became an integral part of the urban culture of the Bulgarians.
The representatives of the ruling families were the elite of the Bulgarian society and after their deaths they were buried particularly solemnly, with government and military honors, following planned programs in accordance with the requirements of the Palace Protocol, which were published beforehand in the press.
Keywords: Royal Funeral, Posthumous Honors, Commemoration, Funeral Culture, Civic Ceremonies