Visit the Kukeri Festivals in Bulgaria

Schedule for the Kukeri Festivals in Bulgaria 2016:

Kukeri Festival in Razlog – 01.01.2016
Kukeri Festival in Razlog – 16.01.2016
Surva Festival – 29-31.01.2016

The ‘kukers’ are one of the oldest and most fascinating of Bulgarian traditions. Once a year, people all across the country will dress as these monsters to enter into public games and parades. The largest kukeri festival of them all is in Pernik – home to the International Bulgarian Festival of Masquerade Games, or ‘Surva’ Festival.

Join me on a tour to Surva Festival or some of the others Kukeri festivals in Bulgaria, and you’ll get to see the largest gathering of kukeri in the world! Experience this UNESCO-recognised folk tradition up close… and join the thousands of people who travel here each year to be a part of the celebrations.

When you book a trip with me to the kukeri festival in Pernik:

You’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of having a knowledgeable, local tour guide at your disposal
I’ll tell you all about the history of the festival, and introduce you to the local performers!
On my tours, you’ll never be a spectator – instead we’ll get right into the middle of the action
You’ll be able to see and touch the masks, or join in the dances
You’ll try the traditional food and drinks typical for all the folk celebrations in Bulgaria.

Just send me a message now, and let’s start planning your trip!

If you want to come and see the kukeri in Bulgaria, then get in touch! I’ll be happy to arrange a customised tour for you, either as a day trip or as part of a longer tour. I can pick you up from any city in the country too, travelling in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle to the Surva Festival at Pernik.

Send me your requirements and lets create your trip of a lifetime

Come with me to one of the Kukeri festivals and you won’t just be watching the event… you’ll get to live it!

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More about the Kukeri Festivals in Bulgaria

For visitors to Bulgaria it is fascinating to witness kukeri festivals. Kukeri is a word thought to be derived from Latin, from the word for “hood”. In Bulgaria it is used about men who perform rituals during kukeri festivals in Bulgaria to chase evil spirits, and their attire is especially picturesque. They wear animal masks, made of wood, with horns; some of the masks are even double faced, to symbolize good and evil. They are mostly masks of rams, goats, bulls, and can be adorned with colorful pieces of cloth, mirror pieces, etc. The colors in kukeri’s masks are carefully chosen: red prevails, to remind of the revival in nature, the sun and nature’s fertility, black is added to symbolize earth, and white stands for light and water.

Hanging on kukeri’s waists are large bells, made from copper or brass, which sound as the performers of the ritual do their dancing. Chasing evil spirits by kukeri can be witnessed both in the period around New Year’s Day and prior to Lent.

The dances performed by kukeri take place at night. That is done to avoid being caught by the sun’s rays. The procession of kukeri goes through the village and sound their bells, pushing away evil spirits by the bell chiming and their scary costumes made of sheep or goat pelt. But they also bring another benefit with their dances. The popular belief is that kukeri dances ensure auspicious harvest and health for the villagers. Having gone around the village, the group of kukeri gather in the central square. There they launch into picturesque dancing and everyone gathers to watch.

Kukeri Festivals in Bulgaria

In some villages, on New Year’s Eve, the so called “Camels” ritual is performed. The “camel” consists of two small willow trees, about 1 to 1.5 metres high, joined by rods. That is the skeleton which is covered with cloth. The “camel” head is covered with hide, and at its back some bells are attached. The camel carries a young lad who is strong and healthy, to be able to defeat another “camel” if he comes across it. Other lads dress in fur coats, with bells at the waists, and masks on their faces. These lads are called “dividzhii”.

They also hold wooden swords and maces in their hands, and together with the “camel” perform ritual movements. To be able to bring prosperity and fertility to the village, the lads should not let the villagers recognize them. The ritual movements include jumping, to help wheat grow high; lying on the ground, to help make wheat ears heavy and lying on the ground too; rolling on the ground, said to bring earth’s strength to people.  The bell sounds help to chase evil spirits away.

Join me on a journey through the Bulgarian custom and traditions. Send your inquiry now and let me create the perfect custom tour in Bulgaria.

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