The Bulgarian culture has been formed over many centuries. Bulgarian traditions root into the distant past and are connected with the history and the Orthodox Christian religion. Fire dancing is Old Bulgarian custom, which has been practiced in Strandja Mountain. Fire-dancers are getting ready all day for that dancing by staying closed in a chapel, keeping the icons of Saint Konstantin and Saint Elena and listening to the melodic sound of bagpipes. When the night comes they start their dance on hot coals always holding an icon of the saints in their hands during the dance. The interesting part of that dance is that the fire-dancers, that are.
Mummery is another Bulgarian tradition that has something in common with American culture. Mummery rituals happen around New Year. They are similar to the Halloween holiday. Men only usually do these rituals, which are wearing special masks and suits made by them. The idea of the mummers is by dancing with those suits and masks to get rid of all demons in the beginning of every year and to go on forward full of positive energy.
Saint Lazar’s Day is ritual connected with the spring. Bulgarians celebrate it 8 days before Easter, the holiday date varies, but it is always on the Saturday before Palm Sunday. On that day Bulgarians make willow wreaths, which they put on their doors for being healthy and lucky through the whole year. Then young girls are visiting the neighborhood, singing songs and giving blessings to the people.
The martenitsa is probably the biggest symbol of Bulgaria. It is a small bracelet, brooch or necklace traditionally in red and white. The so-called Baba Marta (Granny March) holiday is celebrated on the first of March. On that day people are giving martenistsa to each other. According to Bulgarians martenista is a symbol of the new beginning, health and fertility and you have to take it off when you see the first stork returning or a blossom on a tree.
Bulgaria produces most of the worlds’ rose oil and rose is an important symbol of the culture. The rose-picking has now turned into an important tourist attraction. Many festivals are held in the region known as the Rose Valley.
Bulgarians have kept their folklore traditions expressed into their songs and crafts. The traditional Bulgarian folklore dances are called ‘’Horo’’ and ‘’Rachenitsa’’. The dances are performed by all people and at every festival and celebration.