I have to say, Bulgarian graduation celebrations ("Abiturenski") are pretty awesome.
Today, at random intervals, groups of kids would start chanting numbers - "First, second, third..." all the way up to twelve at which point they go crazy and yell really loud. This is for each grade they've passed. Now that they're graduating they have the authority to go the whole distance. This makes it kind of awkward for people who aren't there yet (or who didn't graduate), since they have to drop out of the chant at the grade that they are at or that they made it to. This is a good incentive to stay in school... No one wants to be that guy who has to stop at 10. Well maybe some kids.
At the same time, there are cars passing by at like 2mph covered in balloons and honking constantly. Some of them at their windshield wipers on and the washer fluid running, getting people on the sidewalks wet as they drove by. I've seen this before after weddings, but it's a whole different story when there are several multiple cars all doing it at the same time.
We had a small party at the orphanage with cookies and bezalkoholno (soda - lit. "without alcohol"), and the kids were all decked out in their new suits and dresses. There are 5 graduates from the orphanage this year, and they are all awesome kids who will definitely move on to do great things. I'm going to miss them too, since I've kind of leaned on them (especially in the beginning) to establish myself there.
After the graduation ceremony, the kids will be shouting all night long, the horns will be blazing, and at least for one night, the graduates will run the town. The festivities will continue until morning comes, when the tradition is to walk up to your school one last time and watch the sunrise together as a class. Then everyone goes their separate ways. This is a tradition that is definitely better than its American counterpart, and shows a great amount of solidarity with classmates and friends. It's a special end to a night that means so much more here in Bulgaria than I feel graduation night means in America, since graduating high school is a significantly more rare occurrence here. In America it's usually just something that's expected. Maybe that's why the parties didn't seem as cool.
Until next time...