An annual celebration called the Day of the Driver, held in the vicinity of a chapel in the central southern part of the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria, is a professional as well as Orthodox Christian feast in which Bulgarian Sunni Muslims have participated at least since the fall of the communist regime in 1989. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this article shows that the protracted workings of the socialist elevation of work identity are expressed in this ritual that has developed under the auspices of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, while at the most conspicuous level, Bulgarian Orthodoxy is strongly associated with anti-Ottoman and anti-Muslim nationalism. The celebration of work in Orthodox ritual life has a long history in the presocialist and earlier periods, but the contemporary interfaith participation is motivated by the desire of the local transportation companies to assert their professional identity in the context of an ongoing economic decline. Although invisible from the outside, exopraxis is nonetheless intrinsic to the event.
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Research Article| April 01 2020
Detelina Tocheva; “This Is Our Professional Feast”: Religious Exopraxis and Work Identity in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria. Common Knowledge 1 April 2020; 26 (2): 276–289. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-8188880
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