Festivals & Holidays in Bulgaria
Festivals & Holidays in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is no exception; a nation steeped in culture and history will always have festivals to match. Bulgaria’s unique customs have been handed down through generations, and it commemorates them in a variety of ways.
Christmas, without a doubt, is the #1 on the list of Bulgarians’ favorite holidays. Bulgarian households traditionally prepare a piglet the night before the celebration, while the remainder of the meals should be lean. It is critical to have an odd number of dishes on the table. Christmas celebrations begin immediately after the clock strikes midnight; this is when the Christmas songs begin. Children, joined by adults, visit their neighbors and perform songs wishing everyone who opens the door happiness. They pat cornelian branches with linked bells and cash for good luck in exchange for sweets. Additionally, in Bulgaria, proprietors of different cafés provide complimentary delicacies; braziers are put up on the streets and meat is cooked, as well as wine.
Bulgaria commemorates Trifon’s Day on February 14, a day of wine and revelry. Trifon was called a priest and was murdered in Nicaea in 250 for his religion. According to folklore, on the day of the priest’s execution, all the grape fields were invaded by insects, and their owners approached the saint for assistance in eradicating the invasion. Following that, the insects vanished, leaving the grapes unharmed. The holiday is observed not only by vineyard owners, but also by wine store managers, gardeners, and all those who appreciate a delicious beverage. On this day, it is traditional to trim a vine in preparation for a bountiful harvest, thus the holiday’s other name, Trifon the Cropped.
Bulgarian tradition dictates that spring should be welcomed with gusto and zeal. It is usual to manufacture unique presents on this day – martenitsa, pupae formed from red and white woolen threads. They are presented to entertain the cranky Baba Martha, who in Bulgarian mythology is a grandmother whose moods change often. Residents attempt to please fickle Baba Martha, whose attitude is strongly tied to the weather in March. If she smiles, the weather will almost surely turn bright and warm; if you irritate her, anticipate chilly wind and maybe wet snow. A martenitsa doll is hung on a blossoming apple, cherry, or plum the next year for good luck.
Tsar Constantine and his mother Queen Elena are two of the most honored Bulgarian saints. It is usual in Bulgaria to begin this day by visiting holy locations and healing springs. According to common belief, all spring water turns therapeutic on this day. Additionally, this day is connected with the start of summer, and traditional celebrations are held, including the lighting of bonfires and the cooking of lamb meat. Walking on embers is one of the most thrilling performances. The Christmas preparations begin months in advance: they gather funds for making lamb delights, which are then delivered to all solicitors. The remainder of the funds are used to restore temples or spring springs, as the case may be.
On November 1, the Day of the National Awakening is commemorated in honor of individuals who were able to rekindle the people’s spirit throughout the Ottoman era. National awakening forces battled for their traditions and cultural values, refusing to allow the country’s sovereignty to be violated. They were simply professors and confessors, yet they were essential in the development of science and modern literature in the nation. In 1860, church campaigners secured recognition for the Bulgarian Hexarchy. The event brings together the spirit of all Bulgarians and is recognized as a national holiday in schools and institutions. Bulgarians place flowers on national leaders’ monuments, and amateur collectives operate in their organized reading rooms.
The day of Slavonic writing is one of the most joyous events in Bulgarian culture. It is seen on May 24th and is pretty unique. There are festive processions of university and school professors, their pupils, scientists, and all lawyers. They conclude with the placement of flowers on Cyril and Methodius’s monuments located around the nation. Simultaneously, various cultural events are organized each year, including as the „Art Salon“ in Sofia and open-air poetry readings. Amateur artist circles show their work, as do book fairs and exhibits devoted to the Cyril and Methodius case and literature.
Holidays in Bulgaria
The hanging of Vasil Levski, 19 February
The day when the Bulgarian people will pay tribute to the life and work of the revolutionary Vasil Levski – the apostle of freedom. (it is not a public holiday)
Baba Marta (in Bulgarian: Баба Марта, which means grandmother Marta), 1 March
A very old Bulgarian festival. People give each martenitsa (Bulgarian: мартеница), a kind of white-red thread, as a symbol of health. (it is not a holiday)
Liberation Day (in Bulgarian: Освобождение на България), 3 March
The Bulgarian National Day celebrates the liberation of 500 years of Ottoman domination. On 3 March 1878, the Treaty of San Stefano is signed, ending the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-78 which led to the formation of the Principality of Bulgaria. (National holiday)
The April Uprising (in Bulgarian: Априлско въстание), 20 April.
April 20, 1876 was the day of the official beginning of the biggest uprising of the Bulgarian people against the Ottoman domination. (it is not a public holiday).
Gergyovden – Day of Courage and The Bulgarian Army (en bulgare : Гергьовден), 6 May.
St. George’s Day and Bulgarian Army Holiday. A military parade is organised to celebrate courage.
Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture, and Slavic Alphabet (in Bulgarian: Ден на българската просвета и култура славянската писменост), 24 May.
The day of Saint Cyril (827-869), and of Saint Methodius (826-884), who created the Cyrillic alphabet. A beautiful festival – with lots of flowers, music and joy. First celebrated in 1851, it is known as the festival of students and teachers.
Day of Botev and the Dead for Bulgaria’s Freedom and Independence, 2 June.
Every year, on June 2nd at noon, sirens sound for one minute to honour the death of those who fell in the pursuit of liberation and independence from the Ottoman Empire. On June 2, 1876, the poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev died in battle on Mount Vola in the Stara Planina mountain. (this is not a holiday)
Golyama Bogoroditsa – Assumption Day(Bulgarian: Голяма Богородица), 15 August.
There are great celebrations, especially in the main monasteries, with processions of icons by the monks. (it is not a holiday)
Reunification Day (in Bulgarian: Денят на Съединението), 6 September.
The day when the two parts of Bulgaria – the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Romania (autonomous in the Ottoman Empire) – were reunited.
Independence Day (Bulgarian: Денят на Независимостта на ), 22 September.
Bulgaria’s de jure declaration of independence was declared on 22 September 1908 in Veliko Turnovo.
Festivals in Bulgaria
Rose Festival, Kazanlak
Bulgaria is one of the world’s largest producers of rose oil. Bulgarian rose oil is a prominent participant in the perfume business, and owing to its tolerance to temperature fluctuations, it is also utilized as a greasing component in space equipment. Since 1903, the village of Kazanlak in Bulgaria’s Rose Valley has commemorated this industry annually in the first week of June with folk dance, rose-scented items, live music, and a parade headed by the chosen ‘Queen of Roses’.
It has developed into one of Bulgaria’s major attractions, attracting thousands of foreign visitors each year during the Rose Festival.
Kapana Fest, Plovdiv
This five-day cultural event features late-night street parties, musical performances, and creative follies throughout Plovdiv’s artistic neighborhoods. From traditional costume presentations to conceptual art and a plethora of vivid exhibits in between, this is an art festival not to be missed.
Surva, or ‘the International Festival of Masquerade Games,’ is one of the world’s finest traditional folk events. The event, which is held yearly on the final weekend in January, often attracts over 6,000 participants from over 100 masquerade organizations. Costumes are required for this colourful celebration.