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Kukeri Carnival

30/05/2019 | BM6 | No Comments

Visit Bulgaria and become part of the different world of the Kukeri Carnival

Kukeri Carnival – The boundless magic called Kukeri Carnival!

Among the most colourful customs in the Bulgarian Calendar of traditions are the Kukeri Games. When you travel to Bulgaria (private Sofia tour) you will see for yourselves that people preserved the custom with its whole pagan power. Although the custom bears the peculiar characteristics of each different region, as a whole, the ceremonies and rituals are pretty much the same. Once you’ve been part of the spectacular scenario of folk theatre, kukeri games, you will come back again and again. For the sound of the cow-bells called ‘chan’ that starts early in the morning cannot be mistaken; as well as the scary, hairy masks and crazy costumes and the people wearing them jumping around.

Travel to Bulgaria for a festive Bulgaria holiday

kukeri carnival

The roots of this holiday can be sought as far back as the early centuries long before Christianity. Bulgarians used to worship Surva and devoted the holiday of New Year to that God. Asking Him to bless their fields and send happiness and prosperity to them.

In ancient pagan times the man used to believe that the world of the living and that of his ancestors are one whole and closely connected. Man used to believe in his own fertility like in the fertility of his land and animals. Strongly believing that those ancestors from ‘the other world’ had the necessary extraordinary power ‘to ensure’ that fertility, he sought for connection with them in every significant moment of his life. To be able to experience it, man needed to be ‘somebody else’. The mask is his means ‘to get to the other side’ and contribute to his own prosperity. The mask stays at the border between ‘our’ and ‘the other’ world.

Being part of a Kukeri Carnival

To be part of a Kukeri Carnival is one of the things to do in Bulgaria. The best places to visit in Bulgaria for kukeri are Pernik, Razlog, Smolyan. Actually, almost all around the country there are celebrations like that. Whole Bulgaria tries to scare the evil spirits away and meet the new season, spring. You can travel to Bulgaria and ‘cleanse’ yourselves while dancing and jumping around with the kukeri.

kukeri carnival

From Christmas till beginning of spring Bulgaria is literary ‘invaded’ by Kukers. Winter rituals start during ‘the dirty days’ (12 days from Christmas on) when according to the people’s beliefs, ‘evil power’ would come from the world of the dead. The rituals are mainly in the western Bulgaria. The main idea of the Kukers of this region is to send ‘the evil spirits’ away. Because they might harm the living. The only protected are the ones with masks. Not only are they protected, but they also have the power to protect the others.

The article above has been taken from wwwenmarbg.com. To learn extra, please click on the next hyperlink Kukeri Carnival.

Nessebar

30/05/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

The ‘Pearl of the Black Sea’ is impatient to see you enjoying your Bulgaria vacation

Bulgaria vacation in Nessebar– the scent of the sea and of journey through times long since passed

Often referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Black Sea’ and ‘Bulgaria’s Dubrovnik’, Nessebar is more like a magical and timeless feeling than a resort. Windmills, ancient fortresses and sea depths that keep ancient secrets… This is not a fairytale for times long since passed but the decor of a modern and contemporary town – Nessebar, perfect for a great Bulgaria vacation and private tour Bulgaria.

bulgaria vacation

Nessebar is a town with ancient and rich history. İt is in the central part of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, about 30 km away from Burgas. The ancient part of the town is situated on a peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow man-made isthmus. Variety of different civilizations, that occupied the place, left their marks. As a result, in 1983 UNESCO included Nessebar in its list of World Heritage Sites. This is due to the abundance of historic buildings in the town. Thus it made the town a desired place for a memorable holiday in Bulgaria.

Enjoy the ‘multi-coloured’ Bulgaria tourism in Nessebar

The hard task is for the tourists now – how to capture all the beauty of Nessebar!? With a camera, through knowledge or experience, or simply by touching an ancient stone… Or why not use all of these and plunge into the adventure of living Nessebar.

This article is copied from www.enmarbg.com. For more information, you can click on Bulgaria vacation.

Private Tour Bulgaria

30/05/2019 | LM6 | No Comments

The importance of being Important while on Customized Tours Bulgaria

As a company, we in EnmarBg decided to focus on customized, private tour Bulgaria because we believe that it’s best when you travel with the people you love, family or friends.

private tour bulgaria

Yes, you will see several itineraries already done on our website for you but our intention, in fact is to help you get an idea of what Bulgaria is. We also like to help you get acquainted with the country and the region. (Sofia sightseeing) And not only that but to help you learn a little bit more about the culture of this amazing country before you start planning your Bulgaria holidays.

We believe that everybody needs personal touch, understanding and excellent service. That’s why we devote our hobby and job on following you, your interests and your dreams. Travelling is not just going from one place to another. It is a journey that should touch one’s soul. It is a journey that one should go back to again and again in their memories with a smile…

Design Your Private Tour Bulgaria

Customized, Private & Personal Bulgaria Tours

If we can make a tourist remember their private tour Bulgaria with joy; If we can make them feel that they should share it with family and friends; when we make them want to visit once again that small, ex-communist country, a country profoundly rich in history, culture, adventures; when we make tourists keep that country with beautiful nature in their hearts, then only, we from EnmarBg, can be proud of ourselves but also more demanding of ourselves as people and our job.

The story above or below has been copied from www.enmarbg.com. You can read the rest of the story on link private tour Bulgaria.

Customized Tour Balkan

30/05/2019 | TM6 | No Comments

Customized Tours Balkan Day 1 Our Balkan Holidays tour starts from Sofia to Thessaloniki sister of Alexander the Great

customized balkan tour

Our Customized Tours Balkan starts… 310 km, 4 hours (Bulgaria – Greece)

In the morning we leave Sofia for Rupitе. It will be a short stay in Bulgaria but a good starting point for an unforgettable Balkan Holidays tour.

Rupite is the place where Baba Vanga (Grandmother Vanga – one of the most famous prophets of the world) had received people for almost 25 years before she passed away. Rupite is a sacred place, suggested to her by the forces from above. When Vanga was asked why she chose this site to spend the rest of her life and to build the temple she said mysteriously: “I have my time here. This site is very special. I use it like an accumulator and it gives me energy and power. A terrible fire burned there in the past and a great secret is hidden in the ridge above us.”

Great emotions hide in the customized tours Balkan

Following a lunch break, we leave for Thessaloniki, Greece. Then we pass the border, and we arrive in Thessaloniki. The name of the city comes from Alexander the Great’s half-sister. Cassander of Macedon founded the city in 315 BC. Thessaloniki is Greece’s 2nd major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre. It is also the only city in Greece that has ministry building (Ministry of Macedonia) outside of capitol. In Thessaloniki we will visit Ataturk’s house (the founder of the Republic of Turkey), the White Tower, St. Dimitrios Cathedral. As well as the Statue of Alexander the Great, Venezelo and Constantine statues, Vardar, Eleftherios, Macedonia and Aristotle Squares.

The above tour has been copied from www.enmarbg.com; For the rest of the story you can visit link customized tour Balkan.

Private Balkan trip

30/05/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

Wake your senses up with private Balkan trip

A private Balkan trip in the Balkan countries means a good possibility to sink into the history of the region and put the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together.

What is a better way to tease and wake your senses up than travelling? They say that travelling is the key to happiness. Do you believe it? I do. Join us and let’s find out together.

The countries on the Balkan Peninsula are all different and at the same time they share this ‘similar difference’. (Balkan tours 2019 ) For example, ‘The coffee we had tastes like the Turkish coffee but they call it Greek. Or, ‘ Isn’t that dish the same as the one we had in the place, etc.’ These kinds of conversations probably look familiar to you. I am sure most of you experienced them and enjoyed them really much.

croatia balkan tours 2019

Our private Balkan trip travels around the Balkan countries and enjoys their most interesting, attractive and ‘have-great-stories-to-tell’ places.

The whole text can be seen on link private Balkan trip.

Jeep safari Bulgaria

30/05/2019 | BM6 | No Comments

Enjoy a Jeep safari Bulgaria

Our offer is for a day or two, or even three days jeep safari Bulgaria. It is for the central part of the country – in the region of the town of Kazanlak. It is also known as the Rose Valley and the Valley of Thracian Kings. The Balkan mountain range (also known as Stara Planina or ‘Old Mountain’) has all the premise for a fun and adventurous experience. The highest peak of the Balkan Mountains is in central Bulgaria, Botev peak. (private Balkan tours) That makes the range the third highest mountain after the mountains Rila and Pirin. On such a Balkan tour you can enjoy the endless amazing views, off road Jeep safari.

There are different things to do in the country and Jeep Safari Bulgaria is one of them.

Here we made an example itinerary for you and it’s for central Bulgaria but many are the Bulgaria destinations so you can always choose the Balkan holidays you like and the best places to visit in Bulgaria. We are ready to make the rest for you – arranging the fun Jeep Safari.

We pick you up from your hotel or place where you stay. Depending on how far it is from Kazanlak, we make it a one-day jeep safari. Or it can also be two days or even three days tour.

Follow the rest of the story on link; This story  has been taken from www.enmarbg.com; Read the rest of the story on link jeep safari Bulgaria.

Rose Festival

26/05/2019 | BM6 | No Comments

Celebration is everywhere. Travel to Bulgaria for Rose Festival tour

The Rose Festival tour – a tribute to beauty

The Rose Festival is a lovely annual festival celebrated in the Rose Valley, near the town of Kazanlak. The festival is a parade of beauty in the unique Rose Valley. Since 1903, in this Valley, people have been celebrating the flowers and especially the main and most beautiful flower – the rose. At first, people celebrated the Festival of the Rose as the Festival of the Flowers. Until the present day, all Kazanlak people and its thousands of guests, have celebrated it as the Festival of the Unique Rose. Among Bulgaria tours and places to visit in Bulgaria, Kazanlak is a unique place because there is beauty and life there.

rose festival tour, Red Roses

The Festival is the most remarkable event in Bulgaria and it takes place on the first weekend of June. This is the season when the gentle oleaginous Kazanlak rose comes to bloom, filling the air with its scent. The blossoms are picked in May and June, when high humidity is very important. So is the cinnamon-forest soil in the area and, last but not least, the remarkable skills of the Bulgarian rose-oil producers.

Don’t hesitate to choose Kazanlak Rose Festival tour among all the Bulgaria tourist attractions

rose festival tour, Rose Picking Kazanlak

The Festival starts on Friday and finishes with a procession on Sunday. Actually, these three days are the highest point of a beautiful whole-week of celebrations. People celebrate the beauty and flowers, the spring and the scent of the unique Kazanlak Rose. You need to arrange your travel to Bulgaria for that time. This is a week of numerous interesting attractions that happen every day. Craftsmen of the country come to Kazanlak to show their handicraft articles. Artists, actors, circus performers, writers and singers flock here at the start of June, the best time to visit Bulgaria, Kazanlak. In the run-up of the event, a Queen of Rose beauty contest is held in several rounds. The Queen of Roses is chosen among the girls who finish school the same year.

The article above has been taken from www.enmarbg.com. To learn extra, please click on the next hyperlink rose festival tour.

Taste of Balkan Tour

24/05/2019 | TM6 | No Comments

Private Balkan tours Day 1 Our Private Balkan tours start from Sofia and goes to Thessaloniki

private balkan tours

Private Balkan tours start… 310 km, 4 hour drive (Bulgaria – Greece)

Your private Balkan tour starts from Bulgaria. In the morning we leave Sofia for Rupitе. This is the place where Baba Vanga (Grandmother Vanga – one of the most famous prophets of the world) had received people for almost 25 years before she passed away. Rupite is a sacred place, which the forces from above suggested to her. When Vanga was asked why she chose this site to spend the rest of her life and to build the temple she said mysteriously: “I have my time here. This site is very special. I use it like an accumulator and it gives me energy and power. A terrible fire burned there in the past and a great secret is hidden in the ridge above us.”

Many more secrets are hidden in Bulgaria. In order to discover them, you need to choose one or a few of the private tours in Bulgaria. You should let yourselves become part of that inspiring place as well.

Proceeds to Thessaloniki

Following a lunch break, your private Balkan tour proceeds to Thessaloniki, Greece. Then we pass the border and we arrive in Thessaloniki. The name of the city comes from Alexander the Great’s half-sister. Cassander of Macedon founded the city in 315 BC. Thessaloniki is Greece’s 2nd major economic, industrial, commercial and political centre. It is the only city in Greece that has ministry building (Ministry of Macedonia) outside of capitol, too. In Thessaloniki we will visit Ataturk’s house (the founder of the Republic of Turkey), the White Tower, St. Dimitrios Cathedral, the Statue of Alexander the Great. We will also visit Venezelo and Constantine statues, Vardar, Eleftherios, Macedonia and Aristotle Squares.

This article is copied from www.enmarbg.com. For more information, you can click on private balkan tours.

Tailor-made Bulgaria Tours

23/05/2019 | BM6 | No Comments

We are here to introduce Bulgaria to you. It is our pleasure to do it the best way we can. We only want to know your interests and ideas and like dream tailors we make your tailor-made Bulgaria tours.

Bulgaria is a place worth being explored. The good thing about it is you can never get bored while in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria not only charms with its uniqe nature, but it also enriches with its many-sided history and culture. Not only that but it excites with its multi-coloured folklore and numerous talents. Bulgaria also warms up our hearts with songs sung to the end and mixed with the magic of the dance…

Let us match you with your best tailor-made Bulgaria tours

tailor-made Bulgaria tours , tailor-made tours, bulgaria tailor-made tour, bulgaria tailer made tours, tailor-made bulgaria tour, tailor made bulgaria tour, tailor made bulgaria tours

Travelling is always exciting. Travelling is like love at first sight. You see nothing else, you think and dream about nothing else but the object of your affection, respectively travelling to a new place. Or travelling to a place that became your favourite.

The article above is available on www.enmarbg.com. If you are looking for more information, please visit tailor-made bulgaria tours.

Communist Bulgaria Tour

30/04/2019 | TM6 | No Comments

Communist Bulgaria Tour Day 1 Sofia – Pravets – Varshets

Assembly of Peace, communist bulgaria tour

Start for private tours Bulgariaa. For Communist Bulgaria Tour the guide will meet you at the airport in Sofia. Then you will leave for the town of Pravets as it is the first place to visit on communist Bulgaria tour. Pravets is the birthplace of Bulgaria’s longtime communist leader Todor Zhivkov. It is also the hometown of Pravets computers.

Varshets – the oldest spa resort in Bulgaria is founded around a mineral spring. It is famous for its mineral springs, mild mountain climate, beautiful scenery and a large well-kept park.

Overnight in Varshets.

Communist Bulgaria Tour Day 2 Varshets – Yablanitsa – Kozloduy – Pleven

In the morning we will leave for the small town of Yablanitsa. Bulgarians know the place as the centre for traditional production of confectionery, halva and Turkish delight, lokum.

Then comes Kozloduy. It is not a big town situated on the Danube River. It is best known for the Nuclear Power Plant built in the 1970s. A visit to the plant.

Communist Bulgaria Tours

Next, our journey will proceed to the town of Pleven where  we will visit the “Pleven Epopee 1877” Panorama Museum. It is the only monument of the kind on the Balkan Peninsula. It depicts the events of the Russian-Turkish War of 1877–78 and it stands on the actual battlefield.

The article above has been taken from www.enmarbg.com. To learn extra, please click on the next hyperlink communist Bulgaria tour.

Private Bulgaria tours Pirin

30/04/2019 | BM6 | No Comments

Bulgaria can easily be called a mountainous country. Almost half of its territory is home to different in size, height, character and origin mountainous formations. Mountains in Bulgaria are so various. They are small and big, with or without flora, round and steep, high and low… However, one thing is definite – they are accessible during the four seasons and offer a lot of opportunities for sport, tourism, private Bulgaria tours, and holidays.

On the territory of Bulgaria there are 37 mountains. 36 of them are in the southern part of the country. There are biggest and highest, most beautiful and alpine mountains.

Pirin is considered to be the most beautiful of all. Hearing the legend, though, one would think it’s a bit ‘cold’ beauty. But beauty.

Legendary Private Bulgaria tours Pirin

People used to praise Bulgarian mountains in the old songs. Mountains were always people who later turned into rocks. That was the story of Pirin as well. Pirin and Rila Mountain had always been close. In fact, they were husband and wife. The beautiful girl, Rilka, fell for the also handsome man – Pirin. They got married and soon they became parents of two children – a son and a daughter, Iskar and Mesta. As usually boys are, Iskar used to be a naughty child. While his sister, Mesta was calmer and better-behaved.

Pirin, the father, was usually out hunting and finding food for his family. Rila, the mother, stayed at home with the children. She had difficulties with them as they fought all the time. Although Rila asked Pirin many times to help her with their children, he refused. One day Iskar and Mesta had a big argument. They said bad words to each other. Their mother, Rila was so angry. She put her hands up to stop them and in her sorrow she cursed her children. Actually, she put a curse on the whole family. Private Bulgaria tours put a spell only on you.

The Mountain

Rila wished for her children never to be together; never to be able to meet and to always scare people. She also wished for them to live with frogs and make friends with them. Curse, though was for Rila and the husband, Pirin as well. Rila wanted to become a rock. What’s more, she wanted to not be able to speak. She didn’t want to call her children. She also wanted to feel no love and mercy for the cildren she gave birth to.

As soon as she said this, the curse became reality. Iskar and Mesta never again saw each other. Rila could only see her chidren for some time and then she lost them. As for Pirin, he could never see his son. That’s why one part of Pirin Mountain always looks grim and scary.

It is sad and beautiful. Pirin Mountain is home to a great nature. It is home to many and different species. It has lovely lakes worth being visited during private Bulgaria tours. The mountaian tells stories of times long gone.

Pirin, the story teller – Private Bulgaria tours

Pirin Mountain offers memorable private Bulgaria tours for it’s a place where nature and history make the right blend for tourists to enjoy every single moment. On the territory of Pirin National Park and 3,5 km away southwards from Bansko, is located an ancient fortress. It is Sitan Kale (Sitan Fortress). The fortress used to be one of the most important in the region. Built to protect the road that goes through Pirin Mountain, it was also one of the biggest fortresses along the Mesta River. According to Kedrin, a Byzantine chronicler, ‘Sitan is an impressive city…’

The article above is available on wwwenmarbg.com. If you are looking for more information, please visit private Bulgaria tours.

Galgano part 4

12/04/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

No longer venturing to refuse, he sent a grateful answer back that he would very willingly attend. And having heard tidings of Messer Stricca’s departure for Perugia, he set out at a favorable hour in the evening, and speedily arrived at the the house of the lady to whom he had been so long and so vainly attached.

“Checking his steed in full career, he threw himself off, and the next moment found himself in her presence, falling at her feet and saluting her with the most respectful and graceful carriage. She took him joyously by the hand, bidding him a thousand tender welcomes, and setting before him the choicest fruits and refreshments of the season.

Then inviting him to be seated, he was served with the greatest variety and splendor; and more delicious than all, the bright lady herself presided there, no longer frowning and turning away when he began to breathe the story of his love and sufferings into her ear. Delighted .and surprised beyond his proudest hopes, Galgano was profuse in his expressions of gratitude and regard, though he could not quite conceal his wonder at this happy and unexpected change; entreating, at length, as a particular favor, that she would deign to acquaint him with its blessed cause. ‘That willl do soon,’ replied the glowing beauty;

‘I will tell you every word, and wherefore did I send for you’; and she looked into his face with a serene and pure yet somewhat mournful countenance. ‘Indeed,’ returned her lover, a little perplexed, ‘words can never tell half of what I felt, dear lady, when I heard you had this morning sent for me, after having desired and followed you for so long a time in vain.’ ‘Listen to me, and I will tell you, Galgano; but first sit a little nearer to me, for, alas!

My husband replied

I love you. A few days ago, you know, you passed near our house when hawking, and my husband told me that he saw you, and invited you in to supper, but you would not come. At that moment your hawk sprang and pursued its prey, when seeing the noble bird make such a gallant fight, I inquired to whom it belonged, and my husband replied, “To whom should it belong but to the most excellent young man in Siena”; and that it did well to resemble you, as he had never met a more pleasing and accomplished gentleman.

‘Did he—did he say that?’ interrupted her lover. ‘He did indeed, and much more, praising you to me over and over; until hearing it, and knowing the tenderness you have long borne me, I could not resist the temptation of sending for you hither’; and, half blushes, half tears, she confessed that she was no longer indifferent to him, and that such was the occasion of it. ‘Can the whole of this be true?’ exclaimed Galgano. ‘Alas! too true,’ she replied. ‘I know not how it is, but I wish he had not praised you so.’ After struggling with himself a few moments, the unhappy lover withdrew his hand from hers, saying, ‘Now God forbid that I should do the least wrong to one who has so nobly expressed himself, and who has ever shown so much kindness and courtesy to me.’

Then suddenly rising, as with an effort, from his seat, he took a gentle farewell of the lady, not without some tears shed on both sides; both loving, yet respecting each other. Never afterwards did this noble youth allude to the affair in the slightest way, but always treated Messer Stricca with the utmost regard and reverence during his acquaintance with the family.”

Galgano part 3

12/04/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

The moment the latter had turned his back, our poor lover began to upbraid himself bitterly for not availing himself of the invitation, exclaiming, ‘What a wretch am I not to accept such an offer as this! I should at least have seen her—her whom from my soul I cannot help loving beyond all else in the world.’

“As he thus went, meditating upon the same subject along his solitary way, it chanced that he sprung a large jay, on which he instantly gave his hawk the wing, which pursuing its quarry into Messer Stricca’s gardens and there striking true, the ensuing struggle took place. Hearing the hawk’s cry, both he and his lady ran towards the garden balcony, in time to see, and were surprised at the skill and boldness of the bird in seizing and bringing down its game. Not in the least aware of the truth, the lady inquired of her husband to whom the bird belonged.

Messer Stricca

‘Mark the hawk,’ replied Messer Stricca; ‘it does its work well; it resembles its master, who is one of the handsomest and most accomplished young men in Siena, and a very excellent young fellow, too; —yes, it does well.’ ‘And who may that be?’ said his wife, with a careless- air. ‘Who,’ returned he, ‘but the noble Galgano—the same, love, who just now passed by. I wish he had come in to sup with us, but he would not. He is certainly one of the finest and best-tempered men I ever saw.’ And so saying, he rose from the window, and they went to supper. Galgano, in the meanwhile, having given his hawk the call, quietly pursued his way; but the praises lavished upon him by her husband made an impression upon the lady’s mind such as the whole of his previous solicitations had failed to produce.

However strange, she dwelt upon them long and tenderly. It happened that about this very time, Messer Stricca was chosen ambassador from the Sienese to the people of Perugia, and setting out in all haste, he was compelled to take a sudden leave of his lady. I am sorry to have to observe that the moment the cavalcade was gone by, recalling the idea of her noble lover, the lady likewise’ despatched an embassy to our young friend, entreating him, after the example of her husband, to favor her with his company in the evening.

Galgano part 2

12/04/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

A prey to the excessive cruelty and indifference of one dearer to him than his own life, who neither noticed nor listened to him, he still followed her like her shadow, contriving to be near her at every party, whether a bridal or a christening, a funeral or a play. Long and vainly, with love-messages after love-messages, and presents after presents, did he sue; but never would the noble lady deign to receive or listen to them for a moment, ever bearing herself more reserved and harshly as he more earnestly pressed the ardor of his suit.

Unhappily dwelling

“It was thus his fate to remain subject to this very irksome and over-whelming passion until, wearied out, at length he would break into words of grief and bitterness against his ‘bosom’s lord’. ‘Alas! dread master of my destiny,’ he would say, ‘O Love! can you behold me thus wasting my very soul away, ever loving but never beloved again? See to it, dread lord, that you are not, in so doing, offending against your own laws!’ And so, unhappily dwelling upon the lady’s cruelty, he seemed fast verging upon despair; then again humbly resigning himself to the yoke he bore, he resolved to await some interval of grace, watching, however vainly, for some occasion of rendering himself more pleasing to the object he adored.

“Now it happened that Messer Stricca and his consort went to pass some days at their country seat near Siena; and it was not long before the lovesick Galgano was observed to cross their route, to hang upon their skirts, and to pass along the same way, always with the hawk upon his hand, as if violently set upon bird-hunting.

Often, indeed, he passed so close to the villa where the lady dwelt, that one day being seen by Messer Stricca, who recognized him, he was very familiarly entreated to afford them the pleasure of his company; ‘and I hope’, added Messer Stricca, ‘that you will stay the evening with us.’ Thanking his friend very kindly for the invitation, Galgano, strange to say, at the same time begged to be held excused, pleading another appointment, which he believed—he was sorry—he was obliged to keep. ‘Then,’ added Messer Stricca, ‘at least step in and take some little refreshment’: to which the only reply returned was, ‘A thousand thanks, and farewell, Messer Stricca, for I am in haste.’

Galgano part 1

12/04/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

Ser Giovanni (Flourished about 1380)

This writer was called simply Ser Giovanni II Fiorentino, the Florentine. Very little is known about him, except that he was a notary who lived in Florence and began his collection of tales called II Pecorone, or The Dunce, in 1378. He was influenced by his great contemporary Boccaccio. Like The Decameron, the Pecorone is set within a fictitious framework: a young man falls in love with a nun, becomes a chaplain and during the hours he is able to see her, the two exchange stories.

Like most of the brilliant writers of novele, Giovanni excels in the quality of raciness. Many of his tales are based upon history, with a plentiful admixture of anecdotes, true and untrue. Galgano is somewhat exceptional among the stories of the time, in that it reveals a delicacy and reticence that seem to have appealed but rarely to the full- blooded Italians of the early Renaissance.

The present version is translated by Thomas Roscoe and reprinted from his Italian Novelists, London, no date. The story has no title in the original.

Galgano

Having agreed upon the manner in which they were to meet each other in the convent parlor, as we have already stated, the two lovers were true to the appointed hour. With mutual pleasure and congratulations, they seated themselves at each other’s side, when Friar Auretto, in the following words, began: “It is now my intention, my own Saturnina, to treat you with a little love-tale, founded on some incidents which really occurred, not very long ago, in Siena.

There resided there a noble youth of the name of Galgano, who, besides his birth and riches, was extremely clever, valiant, and affable, qualities which won him the regard of all ranks of people in the place. But I am very sorry to add that, attracted by the beauty of a Sienese lady, no other, you must know, than the fair Minoccia, wedded to our noble cavalier, Messer Stricca (though I beg this may go no further), our young friend unfortunately, and too late, fell passionately in love with her.

“So violently enamored did he shortly become, that he purloined her glove, which he wore with her favorite colors wherever he went at tilts and tourneys, at rich feasts and festivals, all of which he was proud to hold in honor of his love: yet all these failed to render him agreeable to the lady, a circumstance that caused our poor friend Galgano no little pain and perplexity.

Our Lady’s Juggler part 4

12/04/2019 | GM6 | No Comments

At times he represented Her as a graceful child, and Her image seemed to say, “Lord, Thou art My Lord!”

There were also in the Monastery poets who composed prose writ­ings in Latin and hymns in honor of the Most Gracious Virgin Mary; there was, indeed, one among them—a Picard—who translated the Miracles of Our Lady into rimed verses in the vulgar tongue.

Perceiving so great a competition in praise and so fine a harvest of good works, Barnabas fell to lamenting his ignorance and simplicity.

“Alas!” he sighed as he walked by himself one day in the little garden shaded by the Monastery wall, “I am so unhappy because I cannot, like my brothers, give worthy praise to the Holy Mother of God to whom I have consecrated all the love in my heart.

Alas, I am a stupid fellow, without art, and for your service, Madame, I have no edifying sermons, no fine treatises nicely prepared according to the rules, no beautiful paintings, no cunningly carved statues, and no verses coun­ted off by feet and marching in measure! Alas, I have nothing!”
Thus did he lament and abandon himself to his misery.

One evening when the monks were talking together by way of diversion, he heard one of them tell of a monk who could not recite anything but the Ave Maria. He was scorned for his ignorance, but after he died there sprang from his mouth five roses, in honor of the five letters in the name Maria. Thus was his holiness made manifest.

In listening to this story, Barnabas was conscious once more of the Virgin’s beneficence, but he was not consoled by the example of the happy miracle, for his heart was full of zeal and he wanted to celebrate the glory of His Lady in Heaven.

He sought for a way in which to do this, but in vain, and each day brought him greater sorrow, until one morning he sprang joyously from his cot and ran to the chapel, where he remained alone for more than an hour. He returned thither again after dinner, and from that day onward he would go into the chapel every day the moment it was de­serted, passing the greater part of the time which the other monks dedicated to the pursuit of the liberal arts and the sciences.

He was no longer sad and he sighed no more. But such singular conduct aroused the curiosity of the other monks, and they asked themselves why Brother Barnabas retired alone so often, and the Prior, whose business it was to know everything that his monks were doing, determined to observe Barnabas. One day, therefore, when Barnabas was alone in the chapel, the Prior entered in company with two of the oldest brothers, in order to watch, through the bars of the door, what was going on within.

They saw Barnabas before the image of the Holy Virgin, his head on the floor and his feet in the air, juggling with six copper balls and twelve knives. In honor of the Holy Virgin he was performing the tricks which had in former days brought him the greatest fame.

Such sacrilege

Not understanding that he was thus putting his best talents at the service of the Holy Virgin, the aged brothers cried out against such sacrilege. The Prior knew that Barnabas had a simple soul, but he believed that the man had lost his wits. All three set about to remove Barnabas from the chapel, when they saw the Virgin slowly descend from the altar and, with a fold of her blue mantle, wipe the sweat that streamed over the juggler’s forehead.

Then the Prior, bowing his head down to the marble floor, repeated these words:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

“Amen,” echoed the brothers, bowing down to the floor.

Our Lady’s Juggler part 3

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The monk was touched by the simplicity of the juggler, and as he was not lacking in discernment, he recognized in Barnabas one of those well-disposed men of whom Our Lord has said, “Let peace be with them on earth.” And he made answer therefore:

“Friend Barnabas, come with me and I will see that you enter the monastery of which I am the Prior. He who led Mary the Egyptian through the desert put me across your path in order that I might lead you to salvation.”

Thus did Barnabas become a monk. In the monastery which he entered, the monks celebrated most magnificently the cult of the Holy Virgin, each of them bringing to her service all the knowledge and skill which God had given him.

The Prior, for his part, wrote books, setting forth, according to the rules of scholasticism, all the virtues of the Mother of God. Brother Maurice copied these treatises with a cunning hand on pages of parch­ment, while Brother Alexandre decorated them with delicate minia­tures representing the Queen of Heaven seated on the throne of Solo­mon, with four lions on guard at the foot of it.

Around her head, which was encircled by a halo, flew seven doves, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: fear, piety, knowledge, power, judgment, intelligence, and wisdom. With her were six golden-haired virgins: Humility, Prudence, Retirement, Respect, Virginity, and Obedience. At her feet two little figures, shining white and quite naked, stood in suppliant attitudes. They were souls imploring, not in vain, Her all-powerful intercession for their salvation.

On another page Brother Alexandre depicted Eve in the presence of Mary, that one might see at the same time sin and its redemption, woman humiliated, and the Virgin exalted. Among the other much-prized pictures in his book were the Well of Living Waters, the Fountain, the Lily, the Moon, the Sun, and the Closed Garden, of which much is said in the Canticle; the Gate of Heaven and the City of God. These were all images of the Virgin.

Children of Mary

Brother Marbode, too, was one of the cherished children of Mary. He was ever busy cutting images of stone, so that his beard, his eye­brows and his hair were white with the dust, and his eyes perpetually swollen and full of tears. But he was a hardy and a happy man in his old age, and there was no doubt that the Queen of Paradise watched over the declining days of Her child. Marbode represented Her seated in a pulpit, Her forehead encircled by a halo, with an orb of pearls. He was at great pains to make the folds of Her robe cover the feet of Her of whom the prophet has said, “My beloved is like a closed garden.”

Our Lady’s Juggler part 2

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He had never thought much about the origin of wealth nor about the inequality of human conditions. He firmly believed that if this world was evil the next could not but be good, and this faith upheld him. He was not like the clever fellows who sell their souls to the devil; he never took the name of God in vain; he lived the life of an honest man, and though he had no wife of his own, he did not covet his neighbor s, for woman is the enemy of strong men, as we learn by the story of Samson which is written in the Scriptures.

Verily, his mind was not turned in the direction of carnal desire, and it caused him far greater pain to renounce drinking than to forego the pleasure of women. For, though he was not a drunkard, he enjoyed drinking when the weather was warm. He was a good man, fearing God, and devout in his adoration of the Holy Virgin. When he went into a church he never failed to kneel before the image of the Mother of God and to address her with this prayer:

“My Lady, watch over my life until it shall please God that I die, and when I am dead, see that I have the joys of Paradise.”

One evening, after a day of rain, as he walked sad and bent with his juggling balls under his arm and his knives wrapped up in his old carpet seeking some barn where he might go supperless to bed, he saw a monk going in his direction, and respectfully saluted him. As they were both walking at the same pace, they fell into conversation.

“Friend,” said the monk, “how does it happen that you are dressed all in green? Are you perchance going to play the part of the fool in some mystery?”

My name is Barnabas

“No, indeed, father,” said Barnabas. “My name is Barnabas, and my business is that of juggler. It would be the finest calling in the world if I could eat every day.”

“Friend Barnabas,” answered the monk, “be careful what you say. There is no finer calling than the monastic. The priest celebrates the praise of God, the Virgin, and the saints; the life of a monk is a per­petual hymn to the Lord.”

And Barnabas replied: “Father, I confess I spoke like an ignorant man. My estate cannot be compared to yours, and though there may be some merit in dancing and balancing a stick with a denier on top of it on the end of your nose, it is in no wise comparable to your merit. Father, I wish I might, like you, sing the Office every day, especially the Office of the Very Holy Virgin, to whom I am specially and piously devoted. I would willingly give up the art by which I am known from Soissons to Beauvais, in more than six hundred cities and villages, in order to enter the monastic life.”