What better way to experience a local culture than attending a traditional festival? If you happen to be in Bulgaria this summer you may as well want to explore the country like a local. Check out these top 10 traditional festivals in Bulgaria in 2015 and plan your trip now.
Lazaruvane: St. Lazar’s Day in Etara, Gabrovo region
When: 4th April 2015
Lazaruvane is an old Bulgarian custom, which is performed to welcome spring. It is celebrated on the day of St. Lazarus – the Saturday eight days before Easter. It is only performed by girls and it symbolize the growth of the girl. Once a girl has performed this ritual, it is considered that she’s ready for marriage. On the day of St. Lazarus a group of girls crosses the whole village and sings folklore songs while visiting all the houses in the village.
1000 Bulgarian Folk Costumes in One Place, Razlog
When: 13 April
The Festival “1000 Bulgarian Folk Costumes in One Place” is about promoting the folk and cultural diversity of Bulgaria. 1000 traditional Bulgarian folk costumes are gathering together on April 13th to show that traditions in Bulgaria are alive. Traditionally a huge round dance is performed by all the participants in the festival which starts at 10:30 am in Razlog city center.
Humour Carnival in Gabrovo
When: 16 May 2015
The Humour Carnival in Gabrovo draws thousands of visitors every year from Bulgaria and abroad. The day is full with street festivities, funny rituals, giant sculptures, fancy-dressed parties and a lot of smiles. You can also take part of the street carnival if you wear a mask and follow the famed Gabrovo cat which leads the crowd. The theme of this year’s Carnival is “No Gabrovo citizen and no cat land on their backs”. This unique carnival ranks the town of Gabrovo among the rightful members of the Foundation of the European Carnival Cities.
Nestinarstvo: fire-dancing ritual in Bulgari village
When: 3-4 June, 2015
The ancient Bulgarian ritual Nestinarstvo is held to ensure the well-being and fertility of the village Bulgari in south-east Bulgaria. The ritual is famous with its unique barefoot dances on fire performed by nestinari who inherited the right to perform the fire-dance. The whole ritual lasts all day long on 3th of June and the festival culminates in a fire-dance in the evening as the highest form of veneration of the Saints.
Rose Festival in Kazanlak
When: 5 – 8 June 2015
Bulgaria is also famous with its roses. This small country produces about 70% of the rose oil in the world. That’s why every year a special event is dedicated to the fragrance of the priceless Bulgarian rose. The Rose Festival is held in Kazanlak which is part of the Rose Valley in the country. The first week of June is filled with different attractions and events every day. There are also rose picking rituals in different villages, “Queen Rose” competition, a folklore festival, fireworks show and many more.
Cherry Festival in Kyustendil
When: 27 – 28 June 2015
This June Kyustendil will host the Cherry Festival. This is related with Kyustendil’s reputation as the Fruit Garden of Bulgaria. For two consecutive days in June there will be a festival devoted to various sorts of cherries, which were produced in the region of Kyustendil. There will be rich artistic program with dances, rituals, songs which present the magic of the cherry and its influence on Bulgarian folklore.
Rozhen National Folklore Festival
When: 17-19 July 2015
The Rozhen National Folklore Festival is held every four years on the meadows of the Rozhen area in the Rhodope Mountains of southern Bulgaria. The Festival aims to popularize the Bulgarian folk dance and song art. The Fest lasts for two-three days and it will be opened with a performance of the distinctive orchestra called ‘Sto Kaba Gaydi’ (One Hundred Bagpipes). The event has become a nationwide singing competition festival for Bulgarian folk music so you will see a lot of folklore performances and traditional songs.
Pirin Sings Folklore Festival
When: 2 – 3 August 2015
Pirin Sings Folklore Festival is held in Predela stuck between the mountains Rila and Pirin in Southwestern Bulgaria, in Razlog Municipality. The festival aims to show the beauty and diversity of folk music from the region of Pirin. “Pirin Sings” gather fans of authentic Bulgarian folklore from all corners of the country, as well as many foreign tourists. The festival is in the form of a competition between singers and a special jury name the best ones.
International Bagpipe Contest in Gela village
When: 2-3 August 2015
Every year at the beginning of August bagpipers from Bulgaria and all around the world gather together on the Ilinden Meadows near Gela village for the International Bagpipe Contest. The participants vary in age – the youngest one was 5 years old while the oldest was 85. The goal of the festival is to promote authentic Rhodope folklore. Many bagpipers from France, Holland, Japan, Hungary and UK have participated in the contest through the years. Between 40 and 60 bagpipers participate in the contest every year while the visitors who come to see them are between 8000 and 13000.
International Folklore Festival Burgas
Every year the city of Burgas hosts a significant international event for folklore admirers which gather together folklore singers and dancers from all around the world. The International Folklore Festival lasts for several days and includes many concerts in the region as well as a big concerts on the stage of Summer Theater in Burgas. The Fest also is a place where you can see many festive defiles, informational sessions, demonstration of folk crafts, bazaar of traditional souvenirs, etc.
“Maria is a travel blogger from Bulgaria. On her blog, Travelling Buzz, she shares practical info about her home country as well as many tips and tricks for part time travelling through Europe.”
Would you consider attending these festivals in Bulgaria 2015? Leave us a question or comment below!