Holidays in Razlog from the first to the last day of the year
Each of Bansko and Razlog destinations knows that when a davul or a bagpipe is heard, or when zurna sounds, the first eager to jump up and start a folklore dance are the people of Razlog. The playful heart and love for the old Bulgarian customs is a characteristic, distinctive feature of the local culture. The holidays start from the first day of the year and follow the traditional calendar.
Keeping ancestral traditions alive
Everything in the town happens with great desire in a natural manner, but in a contested competition. Thus, on 1st January, priceless treasure costumes are taken out of the old chests on Babinden, Saint Theodore's Day, Easter, St. George's Day and Holy Virgin Mary’s Day. The town square turns into a merry square. Women wear embroidered shirts, scarlet traditional dresses, sequined aprons and traditional kerchievs with long fringes. Men also present themselves accordingly. Thus, on New Year's Day you can see authentic Bulgarian costumes, jewelry and weapons, having a high collecting value. This attracts guests to visit Razlog from near and far and leads to the organization of subsequent festivals: "1000 traditional costumes in one place" - during the second day of Easter and "Armane s tapane" (translated from old Bulgarian as “At the town square with a davul”) – a festival of dance clubs in Bulgaria in June.
However, the festival of the festivals remains the welcoming of the New Year and Surva Customs on 1st January. Then scary masquerade mummers, called Kukeri, dressed in goatskins and high-pointed special hats, go around the town and scare away evil spirits with their costumes and the sound of their bells around their waists. Kukeri pave the way for a new period of the year, which should start in a pure, clean and shadowless way. It is of interest that the cost of such a costume can reach up to BGN 4 000.
Starchevata – International Mummer Festival
Razlog is a member of the international organization of festival cities in Europe. Every two years / and every four years / on the weekends around the date of the old New Year / 16th January/ an amazing event typical of its various colours and emotions takes place.
21st January - Babinden
A traditional holiday with main acting persons: grandmothers and their grandchildren born in the last year. Again there is a folklore dance on the town square, but this time only by the grandmothers who have strapped their grandchildren on the back using a traditional old-type sling. The people are led by the youngest baby, which is actually the last born baby of the year. It is an amusing event where all the kids are dressed in new and specially prepared costumes.
The holiday shows respect for the midwives and emphasizes the importance of the family and the great connection and support between the generations in it.
Saint Theodore's Day
A horse riding destionation in Razlog is Bachevo – a village close to Katarino SPA Hotel.
People from Bachevo love more than any others their horses as family members.
The traditions of this day are interesting. After the festive liturgy at St. Dimitar Church the procession of horse riding schools stop in the village square. A ritual affirming social and family rites is perfomed in a way that has been kept for centuries. The focus is on mothers-in-law and young brides of the previous year. Brides hold their husband's horse bridles and perform a ritual bow in front of their mothers-in-law. The horses are then fed with a traditional baked bread bun and all who are present head to where the horse race will be held.
Following the traditional customs in the region
If you are really excited about old customs, you can learn a lot about them in Razlog. 25th March is the Annunciation Day - the temple holiday of the beautiful church in Razlog. Epiphany holiday (called “Yordanovden or Voditsi”in Bulgaria) is a holiday in the village of Dobarsko / 6th January/. On the first day of Easter the Mumers Fest is held in Eleshnitsa. Bouquets of flowers are placed into buckets of water on St. George’s Day and a large table gathering the families is organized at the Dzherdzheva Rock in Rila Mountain. On the Assumption of Mary Day (15th August) there are celebrations in the village of Godlevo. On St. Dimatar’s Day the kurban is in the yard of the village of Bachevo.
While staying at the Katarino SPA Hotel, guests can gain knowledge of traditions, wear authentic costumes, immerse themselves in an ancient and glorious world and experience unforgettable moments!