BULGARIAN NAMES – NAMING PATTERNS

Many Bulgarian names are traditional. However, in order to understand the complex heritage and components of Bulgarian names one must know a little about Bulgarian history. There were people living in the Bulgarian lands over 100,000 years ago in cave dwellings. The largest number of Bulgarian names are of Christian origin. Today a Family last name is usually handed down from generation to generation. Most Bulgarian last names are the adjective form of a masculine first name, formed by adding -ov or -ev for boys and -ova or -eva for women.

By Terry Mand/Bulgaria-Adopt

and Evgeni Veselinov/bulgarica.com

Many Bulgarian names are traditional Slavic names, and/or Greek or Roman in origin. However, in order to understand the complex heritage and components of Bulgarian names one must know a little about Bulgarian history.

There were people living in the Bulgarian lands over 100,000 years ago in cave dwellings.

The Thracians arrived from the north during the Bronze Age, about 4000 BC and settled in these lands. The advance of the Great Migration of Peoples began in the 3rd-7th centuries AD with the Barbarian raids, as many as 54 different tribes who came either from the Russian steppes or the Asian deserts into what is now Bulgaria.
Slavic names are very common in Bulgaria, Russia, Croatia, Serbia, Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic. Most of these names are compound names consisting of two elemants, most common being the words
„bog“ (God), „lyub“ (love), „lyud“ (people), „mil“ (beloved), „mir“ (peace),
„mir“ (world), „slav“ (glorious), „dan“ (gift), „bori“ (battle), „dobro“
(good), „rad“ (joy), „vlad“ (master). For example, Vladi-slav means he who is master of glory“. Bog-dan means given by God. Radoslav means enjoying glory. Vladi-mir means mastering peace.

Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages)

The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School due to Boris I of Bulgaria who wanted Bulgarians to have their own writing system. It is the basis of alphabets used in various languages, past and present, in Eastern Europe and Asia, especially those of Slavic origin, and non-Slavic languages influenced by Russian. Cyrillic is derived from the Ancient Greek uncial script, augmented by ligatures and consonants from the older Glagolitic alphabet for sounds not found in Ancient Greek. It is named in honor of the two Eastern Roman Empire brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius, who created the Glagolitic alphabet earlier on. Modern scholars believe that Cyrillic was developed and formalized by early disciples of Cyril and Methodius (such as Clement of Ohrid). With the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union on 1 January 2007, Cyrillic became the third official script of the European Union, following the Latin and Greek scripts.

The Slavs raided from southern Poland and Russia, then more or less peacefully settled in the area, assimilating the Thracians into the mix. Soon
most of the Thracian language and history was forgotten in favor of the Slavic language. The last of these early raiders to settle there were the warrior Bulgars, who came across the plains of central Asia. They may have been a nomadic tribe from the highland regions of China and Mongolia. Their language was related to the Turko-Altai group, belonging to the same ethnolingual group as the Huns, Avars, Pechenegs and Cumans. The Bulgars soon settled with the local Slavic population and they too were assimilated, and accepted the language. The Hunnish-Bulgarian association existed between 377-453 AD. In the 5th century they assimilated what was left of the ancient tribe of the Sarmatians, chased away the Goths, and overtook peoples with whom they probably had the same origins (in Russian steppes).

To add to the historical variety of the country itself, Bulgarian names are also influenced by the country’s location. The area was right in the
pathway between the world’s greatest civilizations: China, India, Persia and the Byzantium.
Some Bulgarian names sound as if they are of Thracians, old Bulgar, Kuman, or Petcheneg origin but research shows that they may actually be of comparatively recent origin. However, they may indeed be ancient names which have been altered to bestow a Christian meaning to them (The name Golcho was originally from the Old Bulgarian meaning little naked one. Current folk usage applies a Christian name meaning that of a child not yet baptized and having no personal name.) Most of the earliest Bulgarian names appear to have originated with the Slavs who came in the beginning of the 6th century AD.

Some linguists have also suggested that components of Basque words can be found in East European names.

19th century Bulgarians - Mackenzie and Irby. The history of Ottoman Bulgaria spans nearly 500 years, from the conquest of the Second Bulgarian Empire by the Ottoman Empire in 1396, to its liberation in 1878. For 500 years thousands of Bulgarians were killed or kidnapted. The Bulgarians had lost their state and their independence, but they never lost their names, religious and indentity.

Five centuries of Ottoman rule beginning in the 14th century did not lead the Bulgarians to adopt many Turkish personal names. This was primarily due to religious differences. However the Bulgarian Mohammedans accepted Turkish names, mainly those of Arab origin. Some Bulgarian Christian girls adopted Turkish names also.
The largest number of Bulgarian names are of Christian origin, primarily of Jewish, Greek, and Latin derivation. Christianity was introduced to Bulgaria in the 8th century. In the middle ages Christian names were common among Bulgarian clergy, nobility and urban dwellers. In the villages, until as late as teh past century, most of the names were slavic. Many Bulgarians are named after Christian saints. Because the country adopted the Greek form of Christianity, Greek names are the most common. In Bulgaria the Christian names were changed to fit the sound and grammer laws of the surroundin language and conform to its rules. For example Hristina is from the Greek meaning anointed, Krustyo is from the Greek name Staurios meaning cross.

Bulgarian indigenous names have been formed over a period of fifteen hundred years or more. They are numerous and include many names that have their beginnings in Slavic and Christian names. Many are translations from other languages, Bulgarian states, events, plants, geographical sites, or character traits. By way of illustration, here follows a short list of male names, formed from the root „RAD“ (one that causes or is filled with joy): Rade, Radi, Radyo, Radko, Radan, Radenko, Radoy, Radesh, Radin, Radoyko, Radoil, Radoul, Radon, Radota, Radovan, Raino, Raiko, Rayan, Radush…
New names became common during the Bulgarian renaissance of the 19th century. Children were named for Bulgarian Tsars (Kaloyan, Todor, Shishman, Asparuh, Krum, Boris, Kiril, Asen), people from other countries who were key to the Bulgarian situation (Venelin was a Russian historian who encouraged Bulgarian renaissance), historical figures (Gurko was an outstanding Russian general, Kalitin was a Russian lieutenant-colonel who fought at Stara Zagora), and other political figures (Lenin, Stalinka).
During the Soviet era it was common to see new names, created to renounce the established names of the past (Ninel is a name invented by the reversal of the name Lenin, Vladilen is a contraction of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin). Naming Day may be celebrated on July 15th for Vladimir.

"Kokiche", also means snowdrop, is the first flower that breaks through the snow to show the beginnings of spring even though the actual bud is about the size of a thumb...

Another category of names are names taken from various flowers (Edelvajs is from the flower edelweiss, Hristanta is related to the flower chrysanthemum), gems (the Bulgarian name Biser means pearl, Briljantina is related to the Bulgarian word brilyant meaning diamond), metals (Zlata means gold, Zhechka is from the word for iron), or birds (Gulubina is from the word for dove, the name Jastreb means hawk).

Names from Slavic phrases for various virtues are common (the name Boyka is from the Bulgarian meaning a fighting spirit, Gerasima is from the Slavic meaning venerable). Many Bulgarians believe in the power of words, and names that might give this power to a child are also common (Bratan is a name from the Slavic word brat, which means brother. This name was given to a baby boy in the hope that the first born would have brothers and sisters to call him big brother. Kimon is a Bulgarian indigenous name which means stone. This name is given to a baby in the hope that he will be as hard as stone and thus overcome diseases and difficulties in life.)

Bulgarian folk costumes are made of natural materials or some materials that are very close to that point. And the important is that they are hand made including the embroidering. The costumes included: Riza (shirt), Sukman (tunica kind of dress), Prestilka (apron), Karpa za glava (kerchief), Karpa v raka (hand kerchief), Mente (sleeveless long jacket), Benevretzi (trousers), Kalpak (fur hat). Bulgaria is a relatively small country but within its modern boundaries a wide diversity of folk dance styles can be found. This is probably the main reason why Bulgarian dances prove so popular among international folk dancers.

Traditionally, Bulgarians have three names: the first name (personal name, given name), the middle name (father’s name), and the last name (family name, surname). On official papers all three names are always recorded.
At the beginning of the 19th century most Bulgarians were known only by their first names. Sometimes the person’s occupation accompanied the name for better identification (Anton the baker, Petko the swineherd, Dimo Grunchar which means pot maker), or any other distinguishing feature (Hristo Tupchileshta which means lentils eater). Before 1880 Bulgarian family names began to develop. Traditionally (and in rural areas today) a Bulgarian’s last name was usually the paternal grandfather’s name. This is pretty rarely done today. This European patronymic naming pattern was common throughout Europe in the past. Sometimes the father’s first name was given as a last or middle name. Today this is seen especially among young women as a way of acknowledging their father’s support through school.
Today a family last name is usually handed down from generation to generation. Most Bulgarian last names are the adjective form of a masculine first name, formed by adding -ov or -ev for boys and -ova or -eva for women. (Zhivkov is formed from the first name Zhivko, which indicates son of Zhivko. Zhivkova indicates daughter of Zhivko.) Sometimes for reasons of better sound to the ear, the ending -chev is substituted for a boy, -cheva for a girl (Stoychev is derived from the first name Stoyan). All of these suffixes directly reveal the sex of the person merely by his or her name. When a masculine first name ends in an -a then -a is dropped before the ending is added (Gyula becomes the last name Gyulov.) If a name ends in -ur, the -u is dropped before the ending is added (as in Aleksandur, which becomes the last name Aleksandrov for a boy, or Aleksandrova for a girl). Mostly Bulgarian-American women don’t use -a on the end of their family names.

Bulgarian cuisine (Bulgarian: bulgarska kuhnya) is a representative of the cuisine of Southeastern Europe. Essentially South Slavic, it shares characteristics with other Balkans cuisines. Owing to the relatively warm climate and diverse geography affording excellent growth conditions for a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits, Bulgarian cuisine is diverse. Famous for its rich salads required at every meal, Bulgarian cuisine is also noted for the diversity and quality of dairy products and the variety of Bulgarian wines and local alcoholic drinks such as rakia, mastika and menta. Bulgarian cuisine features also a variety of hot and cold soups, an example of a cold soup being tarator. There are many different Bulgarian pastries as well such as banitsa. Traditionally Bulgarians have consumed a notable quantity of yoghurt per head and is noted historically for the production of high quality yoghurt, including using a unique variety of micro-organism called Lactobacillus bulgaricus in the manufacturing process. It has even been claimed that yoghurt originates from Bulgaria - nowhere the bacteria can grow up - only in Bulgfaria. Though this cannot be substantiated, Bulgaria has been part of a region that has cultivated and consumed yoghurt from as far back as 3000 BC.

The suffix -ich was used during the 19th century from Serbian and Russian influences (Bozhka became Bozhich, Gendov became Gendovich). Ultimately many of the -ich suffixes were replaced again by -ov. A few last names end in -chin, from a past practice of referring to a woman as the wife of a man. (The wife of Andri would become Andreitsa, and her son would be named Andrichin, son of Andrei.
The suffixes -shki and -chki indicate places of origin or activity; and related Bulgarian last names sometimes end in -ski for men or -ska for women. (The last name Dobrudzhanski indicated that the family was from Dobrudja, Pernishki meant either from the city of Pernik or acting in Pernik. Zidarski meant that the child was the son of a mason.)
Last names ending in -in may have been the result of a household headed by a woman. Rural peoples referred to a passive husband by the wife’s name. The character Genko Ginkin, from the book „Under the Yoke“ by Bulgarian Ivan Vazov, literally means Ginka’s Genko. If a husband abandons the family, or if a widow supports her children, the children are sometimes called by the mother’s name (the last name Radin means of Rada, Tonkin means of Tonka). Adults continue to use this form of the name in memory of their mother.
Many Bulgarian last names evolved in an effort to avoid commonplace last names. Some Bulgarians took the Turkish word for the occupation of their father and added a Bulgarian ending. (The last name Abadzhiev from the Turkish abadziya meaning cloth dealer; Sahatchiev meaning watchmaker instead of Chasovnikarov). Others used physical features of individuals or nicknames from Turkish words (Kabaivanov meaning heavy Ivan; Etimov meaning orphan instead of Sirakov). Some Bulgarians added Turkish endings to their family names
(Kutsoglu, Papazoglu). Others adopted Greek names with Bulgarian endings (Despotov meaning despot; Zografov meaning an artist who paints icons).
People who made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem preceded their names with Hadji and descendants used it as a part of their family name (Hadjibonev, Hadjikalchev, Hadjimishev) or added only an -ev or -ov to Hadji.

Simeon I the Great) ruled over Bulgaria from 893 to 927,[during the First Bulgarian Empire. Simeon's successful campaigns against the Byzantines, Serbs and Magyars led Bulgaria to its greatest territorial expansion ever, making it the most powerful state in contemporary Eastern Europe. His reign was also a period of unmatched cultural prosperity and enlightenment later deemed the Golden Age of Bulgarian culture.During Simeon's rule, Bulgaria spread over a territory between the Aegean, the Adriatic and the Black Sea, and the new Bulgarian capital Preslav was said to rival Constantinople. The newly-independent Bulgarian Orthodox Church became the first new patriarchate besides the Pentarchy, and Bulgarian Glagolitic translations of Cristian texts spread all over the Slavic world of the time. Halfway through his reign, Simeon assumed the title of Emperor (Tsar), having prior to that been styled Prince ( Knyaz). During Simeon's reign, Bulgaria reached its cultural apogee, becoming the literary and spiritual centre of Slavic Europe. Tsar (Tzar, Czar, or Csar Bulgarian: цар) is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. The first ruler to adopt the title tsar was Simeon I of Bulgaria. Like many lofty titles, e.g. Mogul, Tsar or Czar has been used as a metaphor for positions of high authority, in English, since 1866 (referring to U.S. President Andrew Johnson), with a connotation of dictatorial powers and style, fitting since "Autocrat" was an official title of the Russian Emperor (informally referred to as 'the Tsar'). Similarly, Speaker of the House Thomas Brackett Reed was called "Czar Reed" for his dictatorial control of the House of Representatives in the 1880s and 1890s. In the United States the title "czar" is a slang term for certain high-level civil servants.

There were people who wished forfamily names symbolic of noble origin (Tsarev, Tsarsk, Kralev, Knyazov, Bolyarski, Grafov). Some families took the name of a geographic region or city (Berlinov, Amerikanov); or from modern technology (Energiev, Telefonchev).

Traditional Bulgarian first names followed a naming pattern. This tradition is primarily only adhered to today in the rural areas. These naming patterns followed the Slavic tradition of naming children, especially boys, with their grandparents’ names. The first born was named after the paternal grandparent of the same sex. (Grandfather Angel’s son was named Velizar. Velizar’s eldest son would have been named a form of the name Angel.) Thus the firstborn son’s first name might differ from his last name only in its ending (Angel Angelov). The second child was named after one of the grandparents on the mother’s side. Subsequent children were named after the grandparents until all four grandparents were accounted for.

Luckily, a majority of names in Bulgarian have both female and male analogues, and this gives one a limited choice. (For example, Radoslav and Radoslava, Ivan and Ivana, Penyo and Pen(k)a.)
A baby born on a great holiday was usually an exception and may have been named for that holiday, but subsequent children then carried on the
tradition by being named after the grandparents. If a boy was born after his father’s death, he was given the name of his father rather than that of his grandfather.

After the four children named for the grandparents, the next two children are named for the best man and the maid of honor (who typically are an
older, more-established family member to whom the young couple can turn for advice). Finally (if there are more than 6 children) one can choose any name that one likes.

Nowadays, if one happens to like the names of one set of grandparents more, one just goes with those names. Variations of the grandparents’ names are frequent. Sometimes the name may keep only the foundation of the grandparent’s name, or a syllable (Anton named after grandfather Andrei, Penka named after grandmother Pelina).

A unique series of events unfolded in Bulgaria in the Spring of 1943. These events lead to the salvation of the entire Jewish population of 50,000 from Bulgaria's pre WW-II territories. Unlike many other countries in Europe, Bulgaria stopped the Nazis of annihilating its Jews. The Bulgarian people, lead by their Orthodox Church Metropolitans Kiril and Stefan stood in the way of the Nazi machine that was firmly resolved to implement the "final solution" of the Jewish question. This "solution" was never realized in Bulgaria. lead by the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Dimiter Peshev as well as many professional organizations and ordinary citizens. Ultimately, not a single Bulgarian Jew was deported to Nazi's death camps. In fact, Bulgaria was among the very few European countries in which the Jewish population actually increased during the period of WW-II. Most Bulgarians never viewed the act of saving their Jewish neighbors as an extraordinary event. Anti-Semitism had never had roots in Bulgaria - Jews were an integral part of the Bulgarian society, as were many other ethnic and minority groups...

A very popular modification is the „first-letter-rule“. According to it, Polina may have been named after her grandfather Petko, Dessislava may be named after her grandfather Daniel. Also, the best man rule is usually thrown out.

In Bulgaria today, many families do not carry on this tradition of first names. Many Bulgarian children are given names picked by their parents, who are influenced not only by tradition and heritage, but also by experience and beliefs. Families may select names of authors, artists, writers, movie stars. Certain names become popular fads at various points in time, as they do in the west.
The middle name is not chosen randomly; in fact it is fixed. If the father is known, the middle name is the -ov(a), -ev(a) derivation of it. A woman’
s middle name is Georgieva if her father’s first name was Georgi. If she were to have a brother, his middle name would be Georgiev. Her sister and she, of course, have the same middle name. If the father is unknown, then one does the same thing with the name of the mother.

With the Turkish and Jewish and Armenian names of Bulgarian citizens, one just sticks for the middle name the exact name of the father (or mother if unknown).

A married couple is introduced using both forms of the last name. (For example Mr. Ivanov and Mrs. Ivanova, not Mr. and Mrs. Ivanov. If one must refer to the couple by one name it would be Ivanovi or Semeistvo Ivanovi.) When a woman marries in Bulgaria, she can , keep her own last name, take her husband’s last name, or hyphenate both names. Both married and unmarried women retain their middle name, the name of their father.

Nicknames are very popular. At birth a child is given a formal name known as a passport name, but the child is more commonly known by an affectionate name derived from the formal name. (For example, Angel and Aleksandra’s oldest son is named Velizar Angelov Velizarov, and his friends call him Zario. Velizar’s oldest son’s passport name is Vangel Velizarov Angelov, but his friends call him Ancho. Velizar’s third child, a daughter, is named Alexandra Velizarova Angelova, but her friends call her Sashka.) Friends and family continue to use these nicknames, but professional associates would use the more formal name. Sometimes these nicknames follow very old patterns, and can be obscure in relation to the passport name. In the past, the suffix -ka was used to designate a serf, but today it usually signifies a nickname commonly used between children, although it is even seen as a passport name.

Bulgarian-Americans celebrate Yordanvoden in Los Angeles in January 2012. Yordonov Den (St. Jordan's Day) or Epiphany takes place every year on the 6th of January. According to Christianity this day is devoted to the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River and is one of the greatest and solemn of the calendar of saints’. It is a day of enlightenment and light and is celebrated by vodosvet -water is sanctified and after the ritual the priest throws the cross in the river or the sea. The men at the bridge dive after the cross to draw it out from the cold water. It is believed that if the cross freezes in the water the year will be fertile and the people will be healthy. The feast is a name-day for those called Yordan, Yordanka, Yovo, Boyko, Boyan, Nayden and etc. PHOTO: Evgeni Veselinov, BulgariCA.com

As for name days, the most numerous group (of over 300 thousand) of the population celebrate Ivanovden (Ivan/Ivana/Ivanka, Ivaylo/Ivayla, Ivo/Iva, Yonko/Yonka, Yoto, Vanyo/Vanya, Enyo, Kaloyan). Gherghiovden (St. George’s Day) is the name day of about 200 thousand Bulgarians (Georgi/Georgiya, Gergin/Gergina, Gyuro/Gyura, Gotse, Gergana, Gancho, Genko, George). Epiphany (St. Jordan’s Day) is celebrated as their name day by some 150 thousand people (Yordan, Bogdan, Teodosiy, Bogomil, Teofan). These three holidays are followed by Nikulden (St. Nicholas’ Day), Petrovden (St. Paraskeva’s Day), Dimitrovden (St. Dimitri’s Day), etc.

The way a name sounds changes when translated them from Bulgarian to another language. In the past, when translated to English, Bulgarian last names were ended with the suffix -off; now it is much commonly seen -ov. There are many sounds in the Bulgarian language that we do not hear in English, or what we hear as subtle variations that are whole different sounds in Bulgaria.

The sound sht is often erroneously heard as the same sound as zht; sh may be changed to ch; the k sound can be written as the letter c or q; s to c; j may be inserted as a silent letter, as a g sound, or as a kind of i sound; and so on. Many times the letter b and v have been interchanged. All of this makes it interesting and challenging to group related names and meaning.

Dilma Rousseff's family in the 1950s: (L-R) Brother Igor Rousseff, mother Dilma, Dilma Vana (standing), Zana (front), and father Petar Rousseff. Photo from Wikipedia. Dilma Rousseff has already taken over as the 36th President of Brazil in 2012, and her administration is up and running. However, the stories surrounding the amazing fate of the family of Brazil's first female President – from 19th-century Gabrovo in Central Bulgaria, a vibrant center of Bulgaria's National Revival, to Palacio do Planalto in Brasilia, the capital of one of the rising colossi of the 21st century - are yet to intrigue and startle the world. Petar Rousseff lived in France for 15 years, heading to Argentina in 1944, and shortly after that to Brazil, where he married Dilma Jane Silva, and settled in Belo Horizonte.The couple had three children – Igor (born January 1947), Dilma Vana, the future President of Brazil (born December 1947), and Zana (Tsana) (born 1951).

Bulgaria was at one time composed primarily of rural communities. Villages were cooperative settings where everyone helped and supported one another. Neighbors were like family. Even today Bulgarian children refer to adult family friends, teachers, doctors, and other adults as chicho (paternal uncle) or lelyo (aunt). Younger children call older ones batko (older brother) and kako (older sister). A man older than oneself may be addressed with the prefix bai- (older brother), and an older woman strinka (wife of paternal uncle). Elderly women are referred to as baba (grandmother).
Names were not used very much within the family. Instead family members were called by words that indicated their relationship, marital status, or age. A husband’s unmarried sister was called zulva, his brother called dever, his brother’s wives were eturva, his oldest sister was kalina, his younger sister was malina , braino was his oldest brother, draginko his younger brother, svekur and svekurva were his parents. The wife’s sister was svestka or balduza, badzhanak was her sister’s husband, shurey her brother, tust and tushta her parents. Snaha was the daughter-in-law or sister-in-law, and zet was the husband of one’s daughter, sister, or close female relative.
Many Bulgarians are named after Christian saints. Instead of birthday celebrations, it is customary to celebrate Naming Day. These are days
designated by the Orthodox Church to honor a patron saint, Bulgarians named after that saint celebrate on that day. Family and friends visit, make toasts, give gifts, and celebrate in remembrance of the naming.
The Romani have at least two names each: a private name in their own language that is not used outside their community, and a public name in the
language of the country where they live. The public names seem to be typical of the country where they are found. So in general, a Romani boy or girl would be given a more or less normal Bulgarian name.

The top twenty most frequent Bulgarian boy’s proper names  /1980/

1. Ivan 2. Gheorghi

3. Dimitar

4. Petar

5. Hristo

6. Nikolay

7. Todor

8. Yordan

9. Stoyan

10. Vasil

11. Stefan 12. Anghel 13. Nikola 14. Atanas 15. Iliya 16. Assen 17. Kiril 18. Krasimir 19. Alexandâr 20. Emil

St. George’s Day - "Gergiovden" is celebrated in Bulgaria on the 6th of May - St. George, the dragon slayer is celebrated as the patron saint of livestock. It is the day of everybody called George, Gergana, Galya, Ginka.This is also the day of the shepherds and the army. Traditionally roast lamb (usually whole) is eaten on this day.

There are some notable data reported by the NSI associated with changes in the structure of proper names used in today’s generations. The name most often given to boys born since 2007 is Gheorghi (almost 4300 boys have been given this name which accounts for 3.5% of the live born during the period). However, the second place now belongs to Aleksandâr (4000 and 3.3%, respectively). Traditional names have been less and less often used (Ivan ranks fourth, Dimitâr – fifth, Nikolay – sixth, while Hristo and Yordan have fallen out of the top 20). This trend departs from the name structure of the general population. Increasingly popular have become names such as Martin (ranking third), Daniel (ranking eighth), Viktor (ranking tenth) – all of them being out of the first twenty among the general population.

Most common for the girls born since 2007 is the name Viktoria, followed by Maria (Mariyka does not rank at all among the top twenty five). Much more frequently used girl’s names are Gabriela (ranking third), Aleksandra (fourth), Nikol, Simona, Yoana, Gergana, Teodora, Raya, Elena, as well as Monika, Mihaela, Vanesa, Sofiya, Desislava, Aneliya, Ivana, Tzvetelina, Kalina.

The top twenty most frequent Bulgarian girl’s proper names /1980/

1. Maria 2. Ivanka 3. Elena 4. Mariika 5. Yordanka 6. Ana 7. Penka 8. Nadezhda 9. Radka 10. Anka 11. Stoyanka 12. Stanka 13. Vasilka 14. Emiliya 15. Violeta 16. Donka 17. Rositza 18. Tzvetanka19. Margarita20. Todorka

 Meanings/equivalents of the above 40 names: 1. Ivan (John); 2. Gheorghi (George); 3. Dimitar (Greek: Demetrios); 4. Petar (Peter); 5.Hristo (close to Christian); 6. Nikolay (Nicholas); 7. Todor (Theodore); 8. Yordan (Jordan); 9. Stoyan (hardy); 10. Vasil (Basil); 11. Stefan (Stephen); 12. Anghel (angel) ; 13. Nikola (Nicholas); 14. Atanas (Gr.: immortal); 15. Iliya (Elijah); 16. Assen (name of a medieval Bulgarian king, of Old Bulgarian origin); 17. Kiril (Cyril); 18. Krasimir (to be the world’s embelishment); 19. Alexandâr (Alexander); 20. Emil

1. Maria (Mary, Maria); 2. Ivanka (Jane); 3. Elena (Helen, Ellen); 4. Mariika (Mary);

5. Yordanka (female name parallel to Yordan – Jordan); 6. Ana (Anna, Ann); 7. Penka (cf. Pen, Penny); 8. Nadezhda (Hope); 9. Radka (Joy); 10. Anka (Annie); 11. Stoyanka (parallel feminine form of the boy’s name Stoyan); 12. Stanka – (from: to take one’s stand, settle); 13. Vasilka (feminine form corresponding to Vasil – Basil);14. Emiliya (Emily); 15. Violeta (Violet); 16. Donka (possibly derivative of Andonka, cf. Antonia); 17. Rositza (dew); 18. Tzvetanka (Flower); 19. Margarita (Daisy, Margaret); 20. Todorka (Theodora)

Most frequent proper names in Bulgaria, end of 2009/National Statistical Institute/

Males

Females

Order

(Rank)

Number

Name

Percentage

 

Order

(Rank)

Number

Name

Percentage

1

176184 Gheorghi

4,79

 

1

125414 Maria

3,20

2

175869 Ivan

4,78

 

2

72215 Ivanka

1,84

3

133116 Dimitâr

3,62

 

3

58041 Elena

1,48

4

91782 Nikolay

2,50

 

4

44895 Yordanka

1,14

5

81470 Petâr

 2,22

 

5

36916 Penka

0,94

6

65928 Hristo

1,79

 

6

35367 Mariyka

0,90

7

56388 Yordan

1,53

 

7

31319 Rositza

0,80

8

54774 Stefan

1,49

 

8

30383 Daniela

0,77

9

54548 Todor

1,48

 

9

29263 Radka

0,75

10

54453 Vasil

1,48

 

10

29258 Violeta

0,75

11

52959 Stoyan

1,44

 

11

28954 Petya

0,74

12

49729 Alexandâr

1,35

 

12

28893 Desislava

0,74

13

49385  Atanas

1,34

 

13

28849 Nadezhda

0,74

14

48635 Anghel

1,32

 

14

28421 Margarita

0,72

15

45359 Krasimir

1,23

 

15

26805 Stoyanka

0,68

16

40809 Plamen

1,11

 

16

25768 Silviya

0,66

17

39220 Nikola

1,07

 

17

25720 Ghergana

0,66

18

33987 Kiril

0,92

 

18

25627 Rumyana

0,65

19

33641 Iliya

0,92

 

19

25125 Emiliya

0,64

20

33367 Ivaylo

0,91

 

20

25050 Stefka

0,64

 Total

1371603  

37,31

 

Total

762283

 

19,42

MORE:

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Bulgarian name – Wikipedia

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Bulgarian Name Days

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Име и честване на имен ден – Българските имена и именни дни

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