Traditions

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Koleda

This winter festival, named after Kolyada, the Slavic god of winter, is known in Britain as Christmas.
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Trifon Zarezan

Trifon Zarezan Trifon Zarezan is the patron saint of vineyards but he is an embodiment from the Thracian cult of Dionysus, the wild dark god of wine. On 14 February, there is a ceremonial pruning of the vine shoots, and…
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Baba Marta

The month of March is still personified in Bulgaria as Grandmother March, an old woman whose mood is as variable as the March weather. The first of March is a special festival day on which people wish each other “Chestita…
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Nestinarstvo fire dancing

Nestinarstvo fire dancing There are now only a few genuine Nestinari/Nestinarki (male/female fire dancers) left. They enter into a spiritual trance to dance on burning embers during the festival of St Konstantin and Elena in midsummer, in a relic of…
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Koukeri

are masked male dancers, who wear fantastic, often animal like masks (like the one pictured above), and huge bronze cowbells round their waists. They carry sticks, which symbolise the phallus, in a spring fertility rite derived from the ancient Dionysian…
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Krali Marko

The epic hero Krali Marko on his horse Sharkoliya Krali Marko was a real historical person who lived in the 14th century AD. He has since became overlaid with an earlier mythology that reflects some aspects of the Thracian Horseman…
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Ancient style of singing

Bulgaria’s ancient style of singing, famed throughout the world for its haunting vocals and exquisite harmonies, surely follows in the tradition of Orpheus. It is also thought that Bulgaria’s unusual uneven rhythms may derive from Thracian music. They believed in…
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Traditional fold costumes

The soukman dress was the most widely spread women's dress, most often a sleeveless dress, but in some places it is with short or long sleeves. The decoration of this type of costume is concentrated on the skirts, along the…
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Bulgarian Fold Instruments

The Gaida (bagpipe)Gaida (bagpipe) is one of the most characteristic folk instruments of Bulgaria. It is said that a traditional wedding is incomplete without its presence. Traditionally the solitary shepherd's companion, it is often heard solo or accompanied by a…
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Samodivi

(also samovili and yudi) There are many tales about these wild female nymphs of the waters, woodlands and the mountains, renowned for their exquisite singing and dancing. [hide]Though they are generally viewed as Slavic in origin (see below), in Bulgarian…
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