Bulgarian Armed Forces Day


Every year on May 6th the Bulgarian Army celebrates its professional holiday. Traditionally, the holiday is celebrated with a military parade. The date was not chosen by accident, on May 6 the Orthodox Church celebrates St. George the Victorious.

Why St. George

The saint is a symbol of courage and faith. The legend tells how with the help of St. Trinity brave warrior Georgi the Victorious kills a snake that takes one girl every day as a sacrifice. After George’s victory over the dragon, the Gentiles of the city embrace Christ’s faith. His triumph is a symbol of victory over paganism. Therefore, as early as the seventeenth century, the image of St. George began to appear on battle flags and military honors for courage.

History of the military parades in Bulgaria

Prince Alexander Battenberg established the Military Order of Courage in 1880. It is similar to the Russian Order of St. George, which honors the accomplices of the battlefield. The same year the prince decreed the celebration of the day of courage by the Bulgarian army.

In the early years, Courage Day was modestly celebrated. During King Ferdinand’s reign, military parades gained more weight and became much more lavish.

The new battle flags

The parade on May 6, 1937 is one of the largest and most impressive parades in Bulgarian history. After the First World War, Bulgaria suffered the collapse of its national ideal. With great difficulty, Bulgaria is overcoming economic difficulties. On May 5, 1937, King Boris III handed over to the memorial ceremony the new battle flags of the Bulgarian regiments. A day later Bulgaria defiantly rejected the Treaty of Noah, expressing this as the parade of the troops.


As Armed Forces Day is the national military holiday of Bulgaria the celebrations in Sofia thus serve as a national event to mark the holiday. The celebrations officially begin at 9am with the laying of flowers at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier by President of Bulgaria and members of government. The celebrations then continue as the parade commander (The commander is usually a Major General or Rear Admiral of the Armed Forces) arrives to take his place in the parade and receives the salutes of the Commandant, Georgi Rakovski Military Academy, reporting on the readiness of the formations at the Prince Alexander of Battenberg Square. At 10am, after a fanfare is sounded by the Guards Band of the National Guards Unit