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EVENTS IN BULGARIA

Bulgaria's strong agricultural traditions are reflected in its festivals and celebratory events.Several 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, are held throughout. Most take place during the summer and attract international participation. Among the most prominent cultural and national events are the following:
1st January - St. Vassil Those named Vassil and Vassilka celebrate their name day. Early in the morning young boys called 'sourvakari' perform rituals for good health and rich harvest. They go from house to house wishing people a Happy New Year. While singing traditional songs they tap their host's back with a cornel twig decorated with popcorn, peppers and wool threads of different colors.
1st February - St. Trifon's Day ('Trifon Zarezan') St. Trifon-The Healer is considered to be the patron of vine-growers, tavern-keepers and gardeners. By tradition, on this day the trellis-vines are cut and the "king of the vineyards" is elected. All those named Trifon, Trifonka, Lozan, Lozanka celebrate their name day. The festivities last for three days. According to tradition three embers are set on fire the first day and by how much they have burnt till the third day, one can judge how fertile the forthcoming year will be.
1st March - Baba Marta According to tradition on 1st March people give away ‘martenitsi’ to all relatives and friends with the greeting ‘Chestita Baba Marta’, which means ‘Happy Granny Marta’. The ‘martenitsi’ are small decorations made of twisted white and red threads, which symbolize health and power. People should wear them until the first storks and swallows come back from overseas.  
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.
23rd April-'Lazarovden'(St. Lazar’s Day) The Saturday before Easter is a festival devoted to young girls, pastures, fields and woods. On this day the maidens of the village perform a special ritual called ‘lazaruvane’, wear colorful sleeveless dresses and bright stockings as a symbol of the awakening nature and perform dances door to door.
24th April - ‘Tsvetnitsa/Vrabnitsa’ (Palm Sunday) The next day, which in the west is known as Palm Sunday - is in Bulgaria a festival devoted to willows, flowers and young women.
6th May - St. George’s day is the official day of soldiers and farmers. The festival is devoted to the Martyr St. George - the Victor, considered to be the patron saint of herds and the protector of domestic animals and their owners. According to the tradition, on this day a lamb, which has been fed with salt, bran and grass, is slain under a fruit tree in the yard of the host. 21st May - Saints Constantin and Elena 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.
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.
International festival for popular song Golden Orpheus - Sunny Beach is held in early June and features contemporary, Western-influenced pop and love ballads. There is an amphitheatre with more than 1000 seats, where the Bourgas opera and philharmonic occasionally put on performances.
Macedonian Sabor at Rozhen (Southwest Bulgaria) folklore festival (songs, dances and music) in the Rhodope mountains.
20th July - St. Ilia's Day, Ilinden In the Old Testament St. Ilia is represented as an ascetic wanderer. In Christian religion he is a Judaic prophet, a follower of Jehovah. In Bulgaria St. Ilia is honored as the patron of the sky.
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 , 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. Thousands of singers and dancers from the Pirin region descend on the Predel Col area near Razlog in late August.
Bourgas International Folk Fest International folk and dance troupes perform during the latter part of August.
Bankso Jazz Festival Held annually in August. A great time to visit Bankso, which normally has a sleepy night life.
1st-10th September - Apollonia Days in Sozopol Apolonia International Art Festival, attracts artists and art lovers from all over the country and abroad. This annual ten-day arts festival stages nightly performances featuring a variety of music, theatre, dance and other events, with both national and international talents participating.(jazz, rock and theatre festival).
17th September - St. Sofia’s Day This day is now celebrated by the capital as its holiday and is known as the Day of Sofia. The symbol of the city is a twenty-four-meter high statue of “Sofia” which reminds of Tjuhe - the Goddess of Fate.
October: Autumn festivals in Bansko, Blagoevgrad, Gotse Delchev, Wine harvest festival in Melnik (mid October)
International Jazz Forum in Russe (last week of October)
November: Jazz festivals in Sofia and Blagoevgrad



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