Bulgarians vs. Native Americans – is it possible to be connected?

Well, I’m not sure how to start so I’ll get straight to the point. It’s a large topic which I’ve been researching a few months, but haven’t found any serious information. I want to show you something I discovered and leave you to judge for yourself.

It was a late evening in early February. We were scrolling from Soho to Covent Garden, when we saw a cozy looking restaurant with a playing band behind the windows. We were a little bit hungry for food and much more for live music, so we found ourselves entering this edgy urban place called Navajo Joe (the name has changed now into Joe’s Southern Kitchen).

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No, I’m not going to make a review of the place. There was something else that grabbed my attention there. We were seated in the far end and as soon as I walked, I felt like home in a way – a fire place in the corner, soft candles light and long rugged coaches covered in some patterns. I heard myself saying: This reminds me of my childhood and visiting some small Bulgarian villages. My man said a bit skeptically: We’re in a Native American style restaurant.

Strange! – was the least I could say. I was absolutely sure that I’ve seen very much the same patterns on old hand-made carpets and wall rugs in Bulgaria. I’ve been seeing them in my whole life.

Lately, my journey into fashion made me notice the coming trend using Aztec, Mexican and all sort of Native American motives on fashion garments. Not all, but many of them still look too familiar to me.

I looked a lot on Internet trying to find the connection and an answer why people from such different corners of the word, would use the same ancient symbols to communicate. I spoke to different people with information on variety of subjects. It seems that some have felt the same connection, but no one knows why.

Let me show you some pictures, so you can compare and see for yourself. I will try to gather in another post what I’ve learned about the Bulgarian old traditions and meanings.

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Source: Left side | Right side

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Source: Left side | Right side

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Source: Left side | Right side

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Source: Left side: Bulgarian Ornaments | Right side: 1. Navajo Cross Stitch 2. Navajo Canvas Wall Art 3. Navajo Storm Embroidery Design

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Source: Left side | Right side

The examples are endless. I’ve gathered many images of patterns on different items. I still remember quite well how my grandmother’s sister used to knit and embroider for exhibitions, when I was a very little kid.

What keeps bothering me is where these symbols come from? What do they mean? I have a basic idea about the Bulgarian traditional meaning now and a very rough idea about the Navajo variations. Both of them have different interpretations – obviously, different environment, lifestyle developed different folklore, believes, etc., while the basic semantic remains the same. What do they actually mean? We’re so different in terms of geographical position, in terms of tradition and history. Or maybe not? Do we come from the same place? Do we share the same ancestors?

Now you see why I picked this embroidered denim dress from Dorothy Perkins – it felt so close to me! I’d be happy to hear opinions from anyone. If they are any Bulgarians out there that have information on our symbols, or if they are any Native Americans or other specialists who know how to interpret them, I’ll be happy to hear from you. 🙂