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Festivals in Bulgaria

Important Bulgarian holidays and events are annually celebrated with festivals in more than 20 cities and towns in Bulgaria. Bulgarian festivals take place mainly in the spring and summer months and feature the following disciplines: pop, rock, jazz, classical, choral, children's and folk music; ballet and dance; opera; theater and fine arts. A great number of Bulgarian and foreign performers participate in these festivals. The folk festivals represent a great interest to foreign tourists as they are an excellent way to get familiar with Bulgarian customs and folk art.

Bulgarian Folk Festivals

The Rose Festival in the town of Kazanluk is held in early June in the Valley of Roses, at the time when the rose petal picking begins. Dancers in folk costumes and singers perform traditional dances and songs. The "Kukerov Den" festival takes place in many Bulgarian towns in late March. On the first Sunday before Lent, men masked with grotesque masks and wearing traditional costumes of fur hides with large bells on theirs waists, perform ritual dances to ward off evil spirits and ensure fertile growing season. On May 21, the holiday of St St Constantine and Elena, fire dancing festivals take place in the small villages in the Strandja mountain and in some tourist resorts. Fire-dancers walk barefoot on hot coals while in a mysterious trance-like state of mind. This pagan event which marks the arrival of summer probably descends from the Thracian Dionysian rites. The Great Koprivshtitsa Folklore Festival is held every five years in August. This is a mega event of performances of Bulgarian folk dances and songs. Recently the organizers of the event are considering making the festival more frequent and including participants from other ethnic groups (Roma, Turkish, Armenian, Jewish etc) along with the Bulgarian folk performers. "Pirin Sings" is another mega folk festival, which is held only once in two years due to the magnitude of the event. The Pirin Sings foundation intends to make the festival a biennial event in the following years. Thousands of singers and dancers from the Pirin region gather at the Predela area near Razlog at the end of August. International dance troupes and folk performers gather in Bourgas at the end of August for the Bourgas International Folk Fest.

Contemporary Art Festivals

The Varna Summer International Music Festival is the oldest festival of classical music in Bulgaria, held annually in June-July. The festival is internationally recognized as an important, prestigious forum of Bulgarian and world classical music. The Bankso Jazz Festival takes place annually in August. It is a great time to visit Bankso and enjoy the performances of Bulgarian and international jazz performers. Annualy at the beginning of September the Apollonia Days take place in the sea resort of Sozopol. The festival celebrates the Greek god of music and dance with ten days of jazz, rock and theatre performances. In October there are autumn festivals in Bansko, Blagoevgrad, Gotse Delchev, a wine harvest festival in Melnik and an International Jazz Forum in Russe.
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