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Post code: 5782
Intl dial code: +359 6987

Festivals and Events

Bulgaria's strong agricultural traditions are reflected in its festivals and celebratory events. Marked by ritualistic songs, dances and customs, these festive occasions offer visitors perhaps the best glimpse into the country's folkways and customs. Some 22 cities and towns throughout Bulgaria have annual festivals in one of more of the following disciplines: classical, choral, pop, rock, jazz, children's and folk music; opera; ballet and dance; theater; and fine arts. Most take place during the summer and attract international participation. Among the most prominent cultural and national events are the following:


  • Feb 14 - St. Trifon's Day; dating back to the ancient Thracians, wine grower's celebrate with vine-trimming ceremonies


  • March 1 - The arrival of Baba Marta (spring) is welcomed by the exchanging and wearing of red and white tassled "martenitsas", good luck charms to ensure fertility in people, young animals and fruit trees.
  • Late March - Kukerov Den - On the first Sunday before Lent, masked koukeri - men with grotesque masks - perform ritualistic processional dances to ward off evil spirits and ensure fertility at the onset of growing season


  • St Lazar's Day- Marriage-eligible village girls perform ritual songs and dances


  • May 6 - Day of St George is the official day of soldiers and farmers
  • May 21 - Saints Constantine and Elena Day -Nestinarstvo, or fire dancing; practitioners walk barefoot on hot coals in small rural villages in the Strandzha mountains (or increasingly in tourist resorts) in this pagan event marking the arrival of summer. It is believed the ritual is descended from Dionysian rites practiced by ancient Thracians=
  • May 24 - National Day of Culture and Education. Students celebrate the development of the Cyrillic alphabet, introduced by Kyril and Methodius, who were later canonized.


  • June 2 - Revolutionary heroes day
  • Late June - Kazanluk Rose Festival- Held in early June to coincide with rose petal picking in the Valley of Roses; folk-costumed dancers and singers perform traditional songs and dances. This annual event has been scaled back in recent years.


  • Macedonian Sabor at Rozhen (Southwest Bulgaria)
  • July Jazz Festival Smolyan


  • Great Koprivshtitsa Folklore Fest - Due to the magnitude of staging this mega-event, it is held only every five years during August. Recent changes include a scaling back in scope to make the event more frequent (most recently held August 13-15 1999), plus the addition of ethnic (Roma, Turkish, Armenian, Jewish etc) folk music along with the traditional Bulgarian folk.
  • Pirin Sings - Like Koprivshtitsa, the magnitude of staging this large event meant it was held but once every two years. The newly formed Pirin Sings foundation hopes to make it into a biennial event. Thousands of singers and dancers from throughout the Pirin region descend on the Predel Col area near Razlog in late August (most recently held Aug 20-22, 1999).
  • Bansko Jazz Festival - Held annually in August. A great time to visit Bansko, which normally has a sleepy nightlife.
  • Rozhen folklore festival (songs, dances and music) in the Rhodope Mountains
  • Late August - Bourgas International Folk Fest - International folk and dance troupes perform during the latter part of August.


  • Apollonia Days: Sozopol, Bulgaria's oldest coastal colony, celebrates the Greek god of music and dance with ten days of events in early September (jazz, rock and theatre festival)


  • Mid October - Autumn festivals in Bansko, Blagoevgrad, Gotse Delchev Wine harvest festival in Melnik.
  • Late October - International Jazz Forum in Russe (last week of October)


  • Jazz festivals in Sofia and Blagoevgrad


  • December 8 - Students' Day

July Macedonian Sabor at Rozhen

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