Did You Know: Shaking Head in Bulgaria

Did you know? — By on 2011/10/07 5:21 AM

Did you know that Bulgarians shake their heads to mean yes and nod for no?

In Bulgaria the head gestures to say “yes” and “no” are inverted in comparison with the other countries.

So, to avoid confusion during your stay, speak and don’t move your head too much!

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  • ted

    possibly true in some parts, but not in the capital, sofia, or the surrounding areas. i suspect you mean to say albania.

  • venimus

    You got it wrong! Shaking head in Bulgaria is quite a different movement. You do not turn/rotate your head, but rather tilt it to the left and right shoulder, always facing front (you don’t turn your face).That movement is slower than the common “yes” shaking. If you tilt faster it means “sure yes”, moving slower means “yes, but not very sure” (or “rather yes, then no”, or “I tend to agree”).

    The movement for “no” is not nodding, but slowly lifting the chin ONLY ONCE! In contrary, the well known “yes” nodding is rapid and you shake your head several times.

    Bulgarians understand very well all 4 head gestures. Use whatever is your gesture, you won’t confuse them! Do not follow the above explanation it is completely wrong, and will cause a bigger misunderstanding instead of fixing it. The common head gestures for “yes” and “no” are still valid and very often used in Bulgaria.

  • Vizy

    There is a folk saying that the “reverse” nod that you mention was from the time the ottomans or other oppressors put a blade under your chin whit the top pointing to your head and asked you for something.You cant shake your head up and down because you will impale yourself on the blade so you had to shake sideways your head in agreement.