Last modified: October 18, 2021

Bulgarian Cultural Traditions

Bulgarian cultural traditions and UNESCO sites are a reason for you to visit the country. They are a vital part of Bulgarian spirituality. Bulgaria has a rich and century-old cultural history. With the adoption of Christianity in the 9th century, Bulgarian culture became an integral part of the European culture. You can find some of the best archaeological sites of Europe in Bulgaria. Every summer local archaeologists are happy to announce new discoveries dating back to prehistoric or ancient times. You can discover Bulgarian cultural traditions traveling around the country. You will only need time and enthusiasm to discover Bulgarian cultural traditions and UNESCO sites.

Surva, January 1,

Surva, January 1, Vasilyovden (St Basil’s Day) is folk holiday Surva. The children make “survachkas”. They decorate cornel-tree twigs. This tree, according to folklore mythology, is first to awake for new life after the winter. Early in the morning, the children tap everybody on the back, wishing them good health; they, in turn, give them presents. In some regions of Western Bulgaria, masked men→survakari, visit the homes. Patting the owners on the back, they pronounce a blessing for health and fertility.

Kukeri (Mummers)


Kukeru/Mummers  is a century-old tradition, which roots we find in the ancient Dionysus mysteries. Groups of masked young men perform ritual games. They dress in sheep and goat skins and wear bells on their waist. These games symbolize the driving away of the dark forces of winter. This rhythmic bell clattering and ritual dances expel the evil forces. Mummers are meant to bring fertility in the farming season. The most famous mummers’ festival takes place in Pernik every end of January. Mummers’ groups from all over Bulgaria show their costumes and skills. The festival started in 1966. Now it is the biggest carnival event in Bulgaria. The voice of the thousand bells and the colorful costumes are definitely worth a visit.

March 1: Baba Marta Bulgarian Cultural Traditions

Baba Marta March 1 Martenitza is one of the ancient Bulgarian cultural traditions. On March 1 every year all Bulgarians decorate themselves with “martenitza” to be healthy and  happy. Martenitza is made of twisted woolen or cotton thread. And Bulgarians consider it to be a charm against evil forces. This is the reason why Bulgarian women entwine coins, cloves of garlic and beads in traditional martenitza – to keep the evil forces away. Martenitzas are tied on young animals, nowadays even on pets. People in the country decorate with martenitzas even the fruit tries for fertility. Bulgarians wear martenitzas throughout the month of March. They tie them on a fruit-tree branch and make a wish for health and prosperity.

Traditional Celebrations

To start with, Bulgaria has retained a great number of traditional celebrations. Almost every week there is a folklore or religious celebration taking place somewhere in Bulgaria. That is why you can find cultural events throughout the whole year. The Orthodox Easter is the most special of all religious festivities. Decorating eggs Easter tradition survived even during Communist period. For Easter, it is customary to give each other decorated hard-boiled eggs.

Likewise, minorities in Bulgaria celebrate their traditional holidays,too. And this is the reason for diversity and richness of cultural events calendar.

There are many sites in Bulgaria worth a visit. Nine of them have been given UNESCO World Heritage status:

Boyana Church, Rila monastery, Thracian Beehive Tomb in Kazanlak, Nesebar, Madara Horseman, Sveshtari Thracian Royal Tomb, Ivanovo Rock Churches, Nature Reserve Srebarna and Pirin National Park.