The 24th of May is a national holiday in Bulgaria. It is the day of St. Cyril and St Methodius, who created the Glagolitic alphabet back in the 9th century. On the basis of that alphabet the Cyrillic emerged, which is one of the most widespread alphabets in the world today. Bulgarians have a special soft spot for this “weird” alphabet as it was created and popularized on the territory of medieval Bulgaria under tsar Simeon the Great. Needless to say we still use it and (at least some of us) get a kick out of watching foreigners struggle with it!
As I am living abroad, I’d be often asked why we use the “Russian letters” and I’d get slightly annoyed. I’m not at all “national- minded” and have none of that “we-are-the-most-amazing-nation-in-the-world-and-we’ve-invented-everything-that-matters” mindset, which I very much dislike, but it still bothers me when people call the Cyrillic the “Russian alphabet”. I’d correct them, but usually people just take it as sort of national vanity. I don’t want to minimize the role Russia played in preserving and modernizing the Cyrillic while we were… otherwise historically occupied (this line turned out kind of pun-y), but I’m quite tired for Bulgaria to be seen as an extension of Russia.
So for a very long time I wanted to make an infographics, which explains the origins of the Cyrillic, but kept postponing, forgetting and generally speaking not doing it. I remembered again few days ago and decided it is just the right time to do it. I had to cut off a lot of the ideas I had initially and to simplify quite a lot in order to make it in time for the 24th of May, but I am happy I made it happen! I might revisit it in the future, but for now here it is: a very brief history of the Cyrillic alphabet!