of beauty, gaiety and a healthy love of life, the Bulgarian festivals
and customs date back to ancient times when mail tried to appease
the natural elements and trembled before their power. One of the merriest
and richest festivals in a ritual aspect are Christmas and the New
Year, when the so called 'sourvakari' make the round of houses with
wishes for health and prosperity.
Other major festivals include "ladouvane" - a festive ritual
for young girls on New Year's Day or Midsummer Day (24 June), Shrovetide
and Mummers' Games which take their beginnings from the Dionysian
festivals of the Thracians and mark the start of spring, 'lazarouvane'
- an Orthodox festival dedicated to love and the family, Trifon Zarezan
(Vinegrower's Day) and St. George's Day, linked with health and abundance.
And among them, the widely popular and typically Bulgarian customs
and festivals - 'martenitsas' and rose-picking.