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The Bulgarian Festival Calendar

Folk Festivals, Name Days and Saint Days


      Folk tradition is very important to Bulgarians and there are many festivals throughout the year of "pagan" origin in which "everyone" participates, regardless of their present day diverse religious convictions. The folk tales vary from region to region as do the dates of the festivals so more than one version of events is given on some sites.



    Some feasts and festivals are of pure pagan origin, others are strictly Christian, whilst some days have both beliefs running together in harmony, so it seemed logical to list all the days to show the Bulgarian mindset of having a Christian feast day to celebrate the entry into the temple of the Most Holy God's Mother on the same day as that of "Koutzoulan", the most terrible of Wolf Days.  Some other paganism and witchcraft tolerated by the Church are - Feast of all Nature - Switch day - Dipping day - Bacchantes - A day of mortification for the dogs - All Souls - Feast of Constantine - Miraculous fish - Feast of serpents - Old Mother March - St. George's: why lambs are sacrificed - The Panagia - Feast of pigs - Novel sins - The Vampire - Fountain spirits - Spirit treasure-guardians - Ghosts of the Turks - Our success as exorcists - Notions of a future state.


      With acknowledgements to the Plovdiv Guide, Radio Bulgaria, Promacedonia Bulgarian Folklore, Varna Museums and the numerous other contributors.  Mnogo Blogodaria Ti.


JANUARY Click on a link

++ - Weather in Bulgarian Folk Lore

 1 -  Vassilevden (Saint Vassil’s Day) - Sourvaknitsa    Kukeri Carnival Nestinarski dances

 2 - Sylvestrovden - Saint Sylvester's Day - Karamanovden - Rinatchov - Moukovden

 5 - Krustovden (Vodokrust, Nejadka, Popova Koleda)
 6 -
Bogoyavlenie - Yordanovden - Saint Yordan’s Day (Epiphany) Tayany (Men's water day)
 7 -
Saint Ivan’s Day - Ivanoden (Saint John the Baptist) - Wedding Season  

 8 - Babin Den (Midwife’s Day) Grandmother's day

 9 - Saint Tatiana's Day

13/14 Winter Masquerade Rituals - Surva

14 - Vassilitsa - the day of Vassil (Basil)

16 - Yuzhnitsa - Verizhnitsi Feast day - (Sveti Verigi) The chains of Saint Peter
17 -
Saint Anton’s Day (Saint Anthony) Antonovden    Nestinarski dances

18 - Saint Atanas’s Day (Saint Athanasius) Atanasoven   Nestinarski dances

19 - Eslama-gunu - the Feast of the Three Kings - dipping day   Nestinarski dances

20 - Petlyovden - Rooster’s Day (Day of Fertility) - Petelarovden - Ihtima

20 - Saint Evtimiy, Patriarch of Tarnovo - Saint Euthymius  Nestinarski dances

21 - Grandmother’s Day - childbirth assistance - another Midwife's Day

21 - Saint Agnes' day

21 - Saint Maximus the Confessor

22 - Saint Timothy the Apostle

24 - Saint Xeni's Day

25 - Saint Gregory the Theologian

++ - Fireplace Rituals - folk lore

++ - Buy a Neighbour, not a House - Bulgarian Wisdom


FEBRUARY  Click on a link

++ - The Fox (vixen) in Bulgarian Folklore
 1 -
Saint Trifon’s Day (Trifon Zarezan) Wine Festival.   Kukeri Carnival. - (Trifuntsi)
 2 -
Candlemas - Meeting of the Lord Feast Day - Sretenie Gospodne (Trifuntsi).

 2 - Another Rooster's Day (Trifuntsi) Winter Virgin Mary.

 2/3 - Wolf Days (Trifuntsi)

 3 - Semen Den (Seed’s Day) - Holy Mother (Christ's Mother) (Trifuntsi)
 3 -
Saint Simeon's Day (Trifuntsi)

 5 - Saint Agatha (Nameday for Agatha)

 6 - Saint Photius' Day

 8 - Saint Theodor Stratilat

10 - Saint Haralampi’s Day - Saint Haralambos (Charalambos) the Martyr

10 - Valentin, Valentina's Day

11 - Saint Vlas’s Day (Shrove Day) Mooing Day.

11 - Saint George New of Sofia (Georgi Novi Sofiyski)
14 -
Saint Trifon’s 2nd Day

14 - Catholic Saint Valentine's Day

++ - All Souls' Day (Goliama Zadoushnitsa) on Saturday before Mesni Zagovezni

++ - Mesni Zagovezni (Meat Fasting Day) - 2nd Sunday before Lent

++ - Sirni Zagovezni - celebrated the first Sunday before Lent

++ - Koukerovden (Mummers’ Day) - Curs’ Monday    Kukeri Carnival.

++ - Easter Lent / Great Lent (the 40 day Fast before Easter)

22 - Shrovetide tradition in general

23/25 - Trimiro - Live All Soul's Day



MARCH  Click on a link

++ - Todorovden - Saint Todor’s Day (Horse Easter) 1st Saturday of Easter Lent in March
 1 - Granny Marta’s Day (Martenitsa Day) Granny March's Day (Baba Marta's Day)

 3 - Bulgarian Liberation Day

 4 - Saint Gerasimus' Day
 9 -
Saint Saint 40 Holy Martyrs (Svetoto) Mladentsi

17 - Saint Alexis, the Man of God
25 -
Annunciation (Blagovets - Blagoveshtenie) Cuckoo, Stork and Swallow.

26 - Holy Archangel Gabriel's Day

28/31 - Babini Dni - Granny Marta’s 3 last Days

Click on a link

 1 -  House of Humour and Satire - Gabrovo -  Proverbs and Sins of Bulgaria

++ - Green Wreaths for Health

++ - Saint Lazar’s Day - The Saturday before Easter

++ - Holy Week before Easter  How to make Easter eggs
++ -
Palm Sunday (Tsvetnitsa-Vrabnitsa) The first day of Holy Week 

++ - Good Monday - Veliki Ponedelnik

++ - Holy Tuesday - Veliki Vtornik

++ - Holy Wednesday - Veliki Sryada

++ - Holy Thursday - Veliki Chetvartak

++ - Good Friday - Veliki Petak

++ - Holy Saturday - Veliki Sabota

++ - Easter (Velikdensko) Passover    Nestinarski dances

Easter celebration:  year












Orthodox church












++ - Easter Sunday (the Sunday of the Holy Week) Velikden

++ - The Week After Easter ( “The Week of Saint Thomas”)

++ - The Wednesday after Easter and the Mara-Lishanka

14 - Martinia Feast - Saint Martin’s Day
20 -
Sofinden (Prayers for healthy cattle and no drought) Monday after Tomas Sunday
25 -
Saint Mark's Day

Click on a link
 1 - Prophet Jeremiah’s Day - Yeremiaya - Zamski Day (snake day)  Nestinarski rituals

 2 - Borisovden (Saint Boris' Day) Pine tree tales.   Nestinarski rituals

 5 - Aderlez - Muslim day of agriculture in the Rhodopi mountains
 6 -
Gergyovden - Saint Georgi’s Day (Saint George's Day)    Nestinarski dances

11 - Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius' Day
12 -
Saint Gherman’s Day (German - 1st Hail Man) - Butterfly Day

16 - The Feast of the White Stork in Belozem
21 -
Saint Saint Konstantin and Elena’s Day   Nestinarski dances

21/22/23 - Nestinarski dances on red hot coals

24 - Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius' Day

++ - Nymph's Wednesday - the day before Spassovden
++ -
Spassovden (Thursday) - 40 Days after Easter -

        “Ascension Day” - Saint Spas' Day   Nestinarski dances



JUNE  Click on a link

++ - Rose festivals - first week in June

++ - Zadoushnitsa (All Souls’ Day) 49 days after Easter

++ - Petdesetnica (50 Days after Easter) Pentecost (Holy Trinity)   Nestinarski dances

++ - Douhovden - Spirit' day (Monday 51 days after Easter)      Nestinarski dances

++ - Roussalya (Holy Ghost) Russalii - Midsummer Week - Roussalka Nedelia
 3/4/5 -
Nestinarski dances on red hot coals

11 - Vartolomey - Saint Bartholomew’s and Saint Barnabas' Day (Varnava) 2nd hail man

14 - Elissey Feast day - Saint Eliseus (Elisha) - Liseh’s Day, the 3rd hail man
15 -
Vivovden - Vidov Day (4th hail man)
24 -
Enyo’s Day - Enio's Day (Midsummer's Day) Birth of Saint John  
Nestinarski dances
29 -
Petrovden - Peter’s Day (Saint Apostle Peter and Saint Apostle Pavel -Paul)
30 -
Pavlyovden - Pavlyov’s Day (the Day of the 12 Apostles) - Saint Paul
Click on a link

 1 - Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian Feast Day (The Holy Healers' Day)  Witches

 5 - Summer Atanassovden - Saint Atanasius Harvester Day

 8 - Saint Procopius the Bee-Keeper's Day

15/16/17 Gorestnitsi - the Dog Days

15 - Churuta (first day of the Gorestnitsi)

16 - Purliga (second day of the Gorestnitsi)

16 - Saint Julitta and Saint Cyricus

17 - Saint Marina the Fiery Day (third day of the Gorestnitsi)   Nestinarski dances
20 -
Ilinden - Saint Iliya’s Day - Saint Elias' Day - (Saint Elijah’s Day)  
Nestinarski dances
22 - Saint Maria Magdalena’s Day

25 - Saint Anna’s Summer Feast day 

27 - Day of Cyril and Methodius and Their Five Disciples

27 - Saint Pantelei’s Day - Saint Panteleymon the All-Merciful  Nestinarski dances
28 -
Saint Julitta and Saint Cyricus - (old style)


AUGUST  Click on a link
 1 to 12 - Makavei’s Days - Makaveyan Days

 2 - Saint Elijah’s Day (old style)  Nestinarski dances
 6 -
Holy Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ   Nestinarski dances
15 -
Assumption - Sveta/Goljama Bogoroditsa (Holy Virgin Mary's Day)  
Nestinarski dances

18 - Saint Ivan Rilski also called Saint John of Rila - Patron Saint of Bulgaria

20 - Prophet Samuel's Day

++ - The Green Forests of Bulgarian Folk-lore

26 - Saint Adrian and Saint Natalia the Martyrs

29 - Seknovenie / Equinox (Black Saint John)

31 - Saint Gennadios - Patriarch of Constantinople

++ - Working Bee Season - (Communal Work Parties) Love stories, folk-wise

 Click on a link
 1 - Simeonovden - Saint Simon’s Day (Start of the Agricultural New Year) Saint Martha.

 6 - Wave the flag for Bulgaria Day
 8 -
Birth of the Holy Virgin - “Nativity of the Theotokos”
14 -
Krustovden (Day of the Holy Cross) G
rozdobernik  - Grape Harvest Day
17 -
Saint Martyr Sofia’s Day - Vyara, Nadezhda and Lyubov - Faith, Hope and Love

24 - Saint Thekla's Day


OCTOBER  Click on a link

 1 - Pokrov Bogorodichen (Holy Protection of Mother of God)

++ - Chicken Church - first Saturday before Petkovden

++ - God's Church - first Monday before Petkovden
14 -
Petkovden - Saint Petko’s Day - Saint Petka’s Day (Saint Paraskeva’s Day)

18 - Saint Zlata of Muglen patron of gold and silversmiths

18 - Saint Luke, Holy Apostle and Evangelist
19 -
Saint John of Rila - Patron Saint of Bulgaria

++ - Dimitrovska Zadoushnitsa” (Dimitur's All Souls’ Day) Saturday before Saint Demetrius’ Day
26 -
Saint Dimitur’s Day (Saint Dimitrius of Salonika) Saint Demetrius  
Nestinarski dances
27 -
Mice Day (Prayers against the evil) Saint Nestor’s Day.
Click on a link

++ - Archangelska (Goliama) Zadoushnitsa - Great All Souls' Day - Saturday before Michaelmas

 3 - The Day of Saint Pimen Zograph (the Feast Day of Artists)

 8 - Archangelovden - Michaelmas (St Rangel Day) - Archangel Michael's Day 

10 - The Holy Apostles of the 70: Erastus, Olympas, Rodion, Sosipater, Quartus and Tertius

11 - Saint Menas (or Minas), Victor and Vicentius

11 or 14 - Mratinyak Feast day - evil black spirit

13 - Koledni Zagovenzi (Christmas Shrove before Christmas Lent)

14 to 21 - Vultchi Praznitsi/Mratintsi (Wolf Days)

15 - Forty Day Christmas Fasting starts today

16 - Saint Matey (Saint Mathew's Day)

21 - Koutzoulan  (The Most Terrible Wolf Day)

21 - The Entry into the Temple of the Most Holy God's Mother
23 -
Saint Alexander Nevski's Day

24 - Katerininden (Saint Catherine's Day)

25 - Saint Kliment Ohridski's Day
30 -
Saint Andrei’s Day - Andreevden (Saint Andrew) Bear's Day  Four Paws at Belitsa.
Click on a link
 4 - Day of Martyr Saint Varvara -Saint Barbara (Protects against Baba Sharka - Smallpox)
 5 -
Saint Sava’s Day (Saint Androgin, Saint Savva or Saint Sabbas the Sanctified)
 6 -
Nikulden - Saint Nikolas’ s Day  (Saint Nicholas)   Nestinarski dances

 9 - Aninden (Saint Anna’s Day - the Conception of the Holy Mother of God by Saint Anna)

12 - Spyridonovden (Saint Spyridon’s Day)

17 - Holy Prophet Daniel and the Three Holy Youths Ananias, Azarias, and Misael

18 - Saint Modestos Day   Nestinarski dances
20 -
Ignazhden - Saint Martyr Ignat’s Day (Saint Ignatius, the God-Bearer of Antioch)
22 -
Anastasiyovden - Saint Anastasia - Nastasya the Deadly

24 - January 1 - Winter and Christmas Feast Days.

24 - Badni Vecher - Christmas Eve
25 -
Christmas Day - Koleduvane ritual - (Rozhdestvo)

25 to January 6 - Mrasni Dni / Poganni dni (“Dirty Days”) vampires, goblins and werewolves.

26 - David, Yosif Name Day (Saint Joseph's Day)  Father's Day
27 -
Stefanovden - Saint Stefan's Day (Saint Stephen’s Day)
31 -
New Year's Eve - Kukeri Carnival.

++ - The Bulgarian Cycle of Life, i.e. Birth, Christening, Marriage and Death.



More Bulgarian Folk Customs


   The Kukeri Carnival is celebrated on New Year's Eve, Saint Vassil’s Day and Saint Trifon’s Day and has been preserved since Thracian times. German and Butterfly are Slavic holidays, Grandmother’s Day, Saint Todor’s Day, Granny Marta’s Day, Saint Ivan’s Day,  Mice Day and Saint Ignat’s Day are ancient Bulgarian holidays, and the rest are Christian holidays from different periods.
There are church services during all of them, since they have been canonised though some are of heathen nature. Some are accompanied with public prayer processions, holy masses, hymns and prayers according to the Bulgarian Orthodox rules.
There are some family holidays that are of great significance for the Bulgarians. The most important  concern the Bulgarian Cycle of Life, i.e. Birth, Christening, Marriage and Death. The Holy Christening), the First Steps (to celebrate the first steps made by the small child), the Birthday, the Nameday, Offering (the offering of an animal or some food to heathen gods and saints to make them show more grace or to thank them for good fortune, health and long life); the Engagement, the Wedding. Inauguration of a New House, Parting (before sending out someone on a long journey). All of these have been preserved for many ages and are a live tradition in Bulgarian families regardless of their religious beliefs.
Very popular folk festivals are held in Koprivshtitsa, Shiroka Luka, Rozhen, Silistra, the Pirin and the Strandzha Mountains, etc. There are folk festivals held in Bourgas and Varna. The music festivals in Sofia, Varna, Slanchev Bryag (Sunny Beach) and Rousse are well known and very prestigious, too.
Some popular theatre festivals with international participation are “Theatre in a Suitcase” and “Apolonia” (in the latter are represented all the arts); “Love is Folly” and “Golden Rose” are film festivals. There are also wine festivals, Neptune Days along the Black Sea coast, music competitions, “Mister” and “Miss” competitions, local art competitions, sports events, and international championships.
The most interesting and unique Bulgarian holidays and customs are the Kukeri Carnivals of the masked koukeri; the Martenitzi – white and red threads and anthropomorphic pendants exchanged between relatives and friends on Granny Marta’s Day to wear for health and happiness on the occasion of the coming spring; the customs German and Russalii (Mermaids) as at the Big Cave at Madara; the Nestinarski dances on red coals on the Day of Saint Saint Konstantin and Elena; the custom of well wishing by tapping people on the back with a “sourvachka” - a decorated cornel-tree twig on Christmas and New Year’s Day; the
Day of Humour and Satire; Cross Day with an imposing prayer procession and pilgrimage in Krustova Gora (Forest of the Cross) area in the Rodopi Mountains., etc. Many Bulgarians and foreign tourists visit these celebrations, the former celebrate them the way their forefathers did for centuries on end and the latter take pictures and participate in them, too.


Traditional Bulgarian costumes and 21st century modern-day costumes   -  Times change.

Company number 148109245
Ged Dodd, Peace Havens Ltd, 1 Todar Petrov Street, Varbyane, Bulgaria.
Please Telephone 0044 1535 212 971, mobile in Bulgaria 0885 062 333.

Peace Havens Ltd

Varna, Bulgaria

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