I’ve been living in Bulgaria for almost eight months now and I have to say, spring is my favorite season here so far. **If you’re wondering what the heck I’m doing in Bulgaria, check out my reflection posts after spending one and five months in this beautiful country.**
I really enjoyed how beautiful autumn was in Bulgaria and the winter season wasn’t too bad, but springtime has definitely been my favorite! The late-winter / early-spring traditions in Bulgaria are quite cool and I have enjoyed immersing myself in this culture.
A few of the common spring traditions in Bulgaria include:
Now, the Kukeri festivals don’t actually take place in spring, but after January 1 and before Lent. Their function, however, is to ward off evil spirits and increase agricultural and animal fertility (typically associated with spring). These festivals are thought to bring good health and a bountiful harvest to the towns and villages where they take place. Participants wear a variety of masks, the most traditional being carved from wood, and don heavy bells. The festival I visited had a wide variety of Kukeri in attendance, with many of the attendees opting for more modern costumes, as you can see below.
The biggest festival is held in Pernik each year, but I opted for a much smaller festival in Parvanets, just outside Plovdiv.
Baba Marta and Martenitsa
Quite possibly my favorite tradition is related to Baba Marta, or Grandmother March. One of my students made a short video about this tradition, so I’ll let her fill you in!
I was lucky enough to have some of my favorite classes on the 1st of March and wound up with quite the bounty of beautiful martenitsa!
I’m very happy to say that spring has officially arrived; the trees and flowers are blooming and the temperatures are at that perfect 70 degrees (20c) mark. There was such a wonderful buildup to spring; I can’t wait to see what it has in store!