Kukers carnivals take place between New year and the beginning of the Great Fast, (7 weeks before Eastern)
The biggest and most popular fest is in the city of Pernik, only 30 km. away from Bulgarian capital – Sofia. In the end of January here gathered thousand of people.
During the fest, Kukers are masked in frightening fur-like costumes. They wear tall hats and ring sheep bells. They also try to send away evil spirits with a sword or staff in hand. It is a symbolic way to wake up the nature after the winter, a magic to induce fertility for the next agriculture year.
Traditionally Kukers asked young men for small change making them wishes, and try to frighten young girls in order to help them having a family and children.
Our ethnography connects Kuker games with Thracian – the original inhabitants of this land. It is a tradition more than 2000 years old.
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The Fest Baptism of Jesus in Bulgaria
The 6-th of January, the Orthodox Church celebrates Epiphany. To the east the holiday is rather connected with Baptism of Jesus in Jordan River and not with Three Kings Adoration.
In Bulgaria, the priest throws the cross in the river to consecrate the water after the service. It is the coldest time of the year, and usually rivers are full of ice. Despite this some young men jump in the river competing each other “to save” the cross.
It is believed the man, who picks up the cross will have a good health all the year.
This celebration is incredibly spectacular in the town of Kalofer, where from the morning men play their dance /horo/ in the icy water of Tundza River. The man, who “saves” the cross gives it to the smallest presented boy.
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Zheravna Fest of national dress
One of the most colorful fest, which recreates the Old Bulgarian traditions, ended last Sunday in Zheravna. It was like a jump in the past, even mobiles and laptops were forbidden. The participants had to wear old national dresses; a ritual wedding was one of the most exiting events. The bagpipes plaid, the horo (our famous traditional dance) swung, the most beautiful country dress was chosen. Emotions, environment, sounds of bagpipes and songs fascinated everybody… but the words are not sufficient, you should be there to feel it!
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Sacred pit – well, 50 km. far from Sofia
Not very far from Gurlo village, Pernik district, Bulgaria, there is a sacred pit – well. The long descending corridor with stone steps leads into a round domed room. The well is located in the centre of this room. What is this? – A temple of cult to underground water, an ancient observatory or something else, nobody would tell you there. A not very successful attempt for conservation of the site was done during communist time. The archaeologist, who investigated the site almost 50 years ago, believes it is dated back to 12-10 century BC. It is not a Thracian mound; neither there is other such a construction technique in Bulgaria. The closest similar sites can be found on the Again Greek islands; still the majority of these temple-wells are situated in Sardinia Island in Italy. They are connected with Nuragic civilization… Are these people settled here 3000 years ago? Do the name Serdi (the oldest Sofia name) comes from them? So many questions remain unclear. We were happy to find the place and tried to imagine its unique history.
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Holiday of the rose
The Rose is one of symbols of Bulgaria. Already in 16-th century the rose oil production in the Rose valley began and in late 19-th Bulgaria monopolized the world market. Even today Bulgaria is one of the most important world rose oil exporters.
Bulgarian red rose has a deep and strong aroma, which is the reason for the first class quality of the rose oil. Called “liquid gold”, the rose oil has unique properties and high prize. In its composition present minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, which causes its calming, and anti-inflammatory action.
Kazanlyk is the most famous Bulgarian rose town, where a festival takes place every year in the first week of June. Here you can find out the traditional way of rose oil preparation also to see the ceremony for election of the Rose Queen. The ritual rose picking up and rose oil boiling in nearby villages is followed by the biggest Bulgarian parade on the main Kazanluk street.
The Bulgarian oil content rose is one from the symbols of our country from centuries.
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