5 Unique Summer Festivals in Bulgaria

If you want to experience some of these 5 unique summer festivals in Bulgaria then make sure you visit at least one for traditions and folklore celebrations.

Rose Festival, Kazanluk: 2-4th June

Photo: alex pavlova

The Rose Festival first originated in 1903 and has now become one of the most popular traditional festivals in Bulgaria. Spread out over 20+ days during May and June, it combines rose production, processions and village celebrations throughout the Valley of the Roses. The biggest celebrations take place this weekend in Kazanluk where people gather for parades, exhibitions, culinary demonstrations, folklore concerts and local crafts. In addition, the Rosé Wine Expo festival is also hosted in the town with it’s own events dedicated to the pink drink that is Rosé.

 Nestrinarstvo, Strandzha: 3-4th June

Photo: Alisa Tours

This ancient ritual is a combination of orthodox beliefs and paganism which takes place in several villages in the Strandzha Mountain near the Black Sea coast. It is usually celebrated on the day of St. Constantine and St. Helena, the patron saints of fire dancers. Villages squares, mostly notably in Balgari, come alive with  processions and folklore events during the day which climaxes at night with ritual dancing barefoot on a circle of broken coals (Aravena, cinders) performed by Nestinari (Nestinari).

Lavender Festival, Karlovo: 24th June

Photo: tivatravel

Every year, the town of Karlovo celebrates and supports Bulgaria’s lavender harvesting and production with a festival that helps promote it’s ranking as No 1 worldwide in growing lavender, processing 120 tons of essential oil per year! From 10am, tasting rituals, lectures, demonstrations and dances plus visits by the Queen Rose and Lavender fairy all contribute to this unique summer festival in Bulgaria. If you want to get involved with a visit to the lavender farms, there are plenty of private agencies online offering tours.

July Morning, Black Sea Coast

Originally celebrated on the rocky cliffs of Kamen Bryag during the 1970s by a group of young Bulgarians protesting against Communist regime, July Morning has now spread further down the coast and into other parts of Bulgaria. Further inspired by rock band Uriah Heep’s July Morning track, thousands of people descend to Kamen Bryag to have a huge party, gather around campfires, listen to live rock music and generally get involved in the party spirit to watch the sunrise together.

The White Brotherhood Gathering, Rila National Park: 19-21st August

Photo: Max Pixel

Every year thousands of members of the White Brotherhood, a movement founded by Bulgarian theologian, Peter Deunov, gather at the highest Bulgarian mountain range in Rila. Worshipers attribute spiritual powers to the mountains and believe that positive cosmic energy was at its strongest here around August 19. The movement is a combination of Christianity and Hinduism mysticism with a heavy emphasis on brotherly love, a healthy diet and living in harmony with nature. Members perform a long sacred dance called Paneurhythmy, banned under Communism, which pays tribute to the movement of the planets and stars.

If you’ve been to one of these festivals, it would be great to hear about your experiences – just share them in the comment box below 🙂

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