Mountains, fresh air, and a culture steeped in history. See if you can hang with Bulgarians and check out these up-and-coming festivals.
Meadows in the Mountains 2020.
Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria
If you’re looking to get away from the city and its overly-populated festivals, check out Meadows in the Mountains. It’ll be located in the beautiful Rhodope Mountains. A favorite for hiking, rock music, culture, and traditional festivals, the Rhodope Mountains is one of the most scenic and popular destinations for traveling Bulgarians. Meadows in the Mountains will have four different stages, and the festival will offer wellness classes, food, drinks, and yoga! So check out this beautiful forest sanctuary and make sure to visit the stunning traditional villages along the way.
Bulgaria Rose Festival
June 5-8th 2020
Did you Bulgaria is responsible for up to 70% of the world’s rose production every year? The Festival of the Roses is one of the biggest traditional festivals held in Bulgaria every year. If you don’t think flowers are your thing, don’t worry, the Rose Festival showcases art, dance, theatre, poetry, and all types of knick-knacks and traditional foods.
The Rose Parade is the biggest parade in Bulgaria, with almost over 3,000 participants marching. You’ll see beautiful folk dancings and women as the Rose Queen coronation is what caps off the parade. Local high-schools select a senior to represent the school at the pageant. From there, the girls compete to become the Rose Queen. The Rose Festival is beautiful in that it shows a countries dedication and coming together in preserving a flower.
Rio, Brazil may have the biggest carnival according to the Guinness Book of World Records, but at EUScoop, we think the Kukeri Festival is the better festival if you’re interest lie in monsters and dancing.
Kukeri is an old Bulgarian tradition that is meant to chase away evil spirits. Traditionally men and boys would dress up in furs and animal skins and jump around with bells tied around their waist, but more and more women are joining in on the fun as well. The costumes are supposed to be so ugly that even a real monster would run away in fear. You’ll see beautiful masks made from wood, thread, animal fur, and teeth. If you look closely, you’ll notice that some people are dancing non-stop with heavy bells on, sometimes they can weigh up to 100 pounds! So get rid of the monsters in your life by checking out the Kukeri Festival in Surva.
Fire Dancing Festival, aka, Nestinarstvo.
Fire dancing is one of Bulgaria’s oldest past-times. This was started by ancient Thracians to worship the Sun-god, and now there are very few communities that still practice this ritual. Fortunately for you around June 3rd every year, thousands of dare-devils will perform nestinari, the ritual of walking on fire. As Bulgaria has become more orthodox over time, the ceremony was done while holding icons of the saints Helen and Constantine. Many Bulgarians say performing the ritual brings them health, wealth, and fertility throughout the years.
International Folklore Festival Varna
If you’re tired of all the chalga music playing everywhere in Bulgaria and want to get a taste of real Bulgaria, check the International Folklore Festival in Varna this year. The festival isn’t just focused on Bulgarian culture, but in fact, also features folk music from around the world. Known as the Sea Capital of Bulgaria, Vargas is one of the most beautiful areas of Bulgaria, a hot-spot for trendy, young, jet setters. With it’s long tradition of folk music, you’ll won’t forget this one. Bulgarians love their traditional folk music and have even developed chalga music, a modern, dance-heavy, oriental belly-dancing influenced pop music. But this is far from that. You’ll see people in traditional wears, dancing to traditional music. Make sure you’re wearing your red and white to symbolize good luck and fortune.