About Bulgaria - Holidays and Traditions

January 1st – the New Year and Vasiliovden(Saint Vassil’s Day)

On the New Year’s Eve or in the morning of January 1st, Bulgarians use to eat the traditional cheese pie (Banitsa)with fortune-slips in it. Usually they are written by the wife or the children in the family. The fortune-slips are generally about the priorities in life, like health, happiness, love, wealth and so on.
Survakane is a typical Bulgarian custom for New Year’s Day. It is performed by children and brings good health. This ritual is performed with short branches of cornel-tree, embellished with colourful woolen threads.

January 6th – St.Jordan’s Day
People gather round a lake or on the banks of a river. The priest throws the Holy Cross in the water and the volunteers dive in the icy water in a race to be the first to catch it. According to the belief the victor enjoys good health all the year round.


February 14th – Trifon Zarezan(St.Trifon’s Day)
Saint Trifon is the patron saint of the wine growers. On this day vines are trimmed, in order to insure a rich crop of grapes. So St.Trifon’s Day is the holiday of wine. The participants in this ceremony re-produce elements of old rituals going back to Thracian times connected with the cult to the Thracian God of Wine, Dionysius.

March 1st

March 1st – Baba Marta
March 1st is probably our most intrinsic holiday because it is unique to Bulgaria. The custom of wearing martenitsi (red-and-white threads worn as a decoration) is only popular in Bulgaria and it is perhaps the most positive one in all our folklore. The red and white colours symbolize spiritual purity and long life. On this day the Bulgarians give martnitsi to the people they love.

March 3rd – The Liberation Day
On March 3, 1878, the Peace Treaty of San Stefano between Russia and the Ottoman Empire was signed which brought Bulgaria back to the political map. The Peace Treaty of San Stefano marks the revival of the Bulgarian State, submerged under Ottoman rule since the end of 14th century.


March 6th - Kukeri
In the rural (farming) villages of Bulgaria, the "Kukeri" is a important masked ritual, carried forward from the Thracians. They dance in the last days of the winter, just before nature comes back to life.
The participants in this ritual usually are male only, dressed in sheepskin garments and wearing scary masks and chanove (copper bells) on their belts, dancing and singing Christmas songs and chants, with the intention to scare away the evil spirits or ghosts which people believed came back to the living ones in winter.
Tsvetnitsa-Vrabnitsa(the day of the willow – since the willow is the first tree to put forth leaves) (Palm Sunday) is one of the biggest Bulgarian holidays, rich in a variety of customs, songs and melodies. The holiday is held annually on the last Sunday before Easter and it is the people’s belief that this is the holiday of the fields, meadows and forests.
The Bulgarian Easter traditions are a variation of traditional Orthodox Easter traditions. Here in Bulgaria, egg cracking is good for more than just eating the egg!
The bright red colored egg is the symbol of Easter (or Pascha) for the Orthodox Christians all over the world. The traditional Orthodox Paschal greeting is: "Christ is Risen!" The answer is: "Indeed He is Risen". This is the greeting during 40 days after Pascha. Also, the greeting is exchanged during the ritual tapping of the eggs which is explained below.
The first egg to be made is always painted red to symbolize the blood of Christ and put aside - either to be buried in the fields to ensure fertility or kept in the home to bring good luck.

May 6th – St.George’s Day
In popular believes, Saint George is the invincible warrior and the patron saint of the shepherds. Saint George manages to vanquish the Monster with his spear. That’s why St.George’s Day is also the day of courage and the holiday of the Bulgarian Army.


May 24th – The Day of the Bulgarian Culture, Education and the Slavic Alphabet
Bulgarians honour the 24th of May as the day of Day of Slavic Alphabet and Culture. The day may also be called "Methodius Day", "Sts. Cyril & Methodius Day", "Day of Culture and Literacy" or "Alphabet Day". All over the country schools are decorated with flowers and portraits of the brothers St. Cyril and St. Methodius in gratitude for the treasure of letters so suitable for the pronunciation of the Bulgarian language.

June 24th – Enyovden (Midsummer Day)
On Midsummer Day the sun was believed to end its journey towards summer and, after giving three jumps, to turn towards winter. There was a popular belief that the herbs gathered on the eve of Enyovden have stronger healing powers than those gathered on any other day of the year.

December 6th – Nikulden (St.Nicholas’ Day)
God blessed St.Nicholas with the power to calm down the sea storms and save the poor from misfortunes. It must be a fish day typically with carp fish.

December 24th – Christmas Eve
There are seven dishes that are musts on every Bulgarian table in the Christmas Eve. Beans are a traditional Christmas Eve dish in Bulgaria, as families gather that evening to a meatless holiday meal. The Christmas fare provided at table also includes garlic, walnuts, honey, onion, summer fruit kept fresh, wine, brandy - everything that has been produced during the past year.

Bulgarian folk music

It is inseparable not only from the family or calendar holidays, but also from the Bulgarian's life as a whole. The claim that songs are the essence of a nation is hardly an exaggeration. Songs have accompanied the Bulgarians during workdays and holidays, in periods of historical upsurge and in times of trial, in joy and in sorrow. The Bulgarian folk songs are unique, while extended time is its distinguishing feature that is unknown in European music. It is most vividly used in Rhodopian songs.
Voyager-1 and Voyager-2 spaceships are now travelling towards the stars. Each of them carries selected recordings of mankind's musical treasury. Among them, along with Beethoven symphony, there is also a Bulgarian Rhodopes song.

Despite the fact that Bulgarian folk music is primarily vocal, THE INSTRUMENTS are also many and diverse. They can be divided into three groups: single and two-voice wind instruments (pipe, shepherd's pipe, bagpipe, wooden pipe), string instruments (rebec, pandore) and percussion instruments (drums). The instrumental music rests on the vocal one and conforms to the respective instrument.
Discover Bulgaria
This tour presents the highlights of the Bulgarian culture and historical heritage: the famous golden treasures of the Thracians, the unique frescos and icons of Bulgarian monasteries, picturesque Rivaval towns and wonderful landscapes.
Monastery Tour
Seculed ath the foot of the mountain or perched on the hills, but always amidst vivid scenery have been a genuine treasury of Bulgarian spirit.Fantastic mural paintings and frescoes made by the hand of familiar or unknown icon painters cover the interior of the churches.
Three Mountains
Bulgarian landscape is fascinatingly diverse-low and high mountains,valleys and meadows, beaches and bays.Enjoy the the charming of the Bulgarian towns, still preserving the atmosphere of National Revival period –a unique combination of a legendary history and and fascinating present
Daily tour Koprivshtitsa
One of the most charming small Bulgarian towns-a museum of Bulgarian Renaissance architecture.Every street and house tells about the heroic past of this ancient town.A unique collection of ethnographic treasures,Revival works of art and embroidery has also been preserved.
Daily tour Rila Monastery
The holy ground for all Bulgarians.It is a symbol of their national identity and dignity.Visitors are impressed by the the pure harmonious line of the buildings, the exquisite colonnades and arches.
Daily tour Sofia
Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe, with thousand of years of history and monuments from different civilizations.Sofia celebrates on September 17 , as this is the day of its patron-saints Viara(Faith), Nadezhda(Hope), Lyubov(Love) and their mother Sofia which in Greek means “wisdom”
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