One thing is certain for Bansko – the tourists can’t be bored here, because this winter resort offers a great variety of entertainment and services both in summer and winter. The facts speak for themselves, as every year Bansko is visited by thousands of Bulgarian and foreign tourists, which proves not only its popularity, but also the diversity of offered services.
Activities and attractions during the season – traditions and customs of Bansko
Residents and guests of the town enjoy a wonderful spring atmosphere filled with pleasant emotions. Don’t miss your chance to feel the festive spirit of Bansko and to experience the magic of the unique Bulgarian traditions.
All residents and guests can enjoy a unique show presented in the typical colorful style of Bansko, filled with skilfully crafted masks and costumes of kukeri. During the events dedicated to the celebrations of the Bansko Municipality we can experience how the everyday life and traditions, past and modern times interweave.
In May, apart from the traditional celebrations in Bansko, there is also a festival between three mountains. More than 800 international dance and singing groups for authentic folklore take part in it. We can enjoy the magic of the real folklore at the festival “Between three mountains” in Bansko.
Easter in Bansko
A program that is very rich in events is carried out for the Easter holidays. It starts with the show “Colorful First of April”, which unites two celebrations – Palm Sunday and the day of humor and satire – 1st of April.
On that data the amateurs of the “Nikola Vaptsarov”community center prepare a cheerful program, which present the Easter celebrations through the humor and dialect that are specific for Bansko. The hall of the community center gathers audience from different towns and cities on March 30.
The celebration marks the beginning of the Holy week and also precedes the great Christian holiday – the Resurrection of Christ. The holiday is dedicated to the solemn reception of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem with olive and laurel twigs.
On the occasion of Palm Sunday in the central square of Bansko, the amateur formations from the “Nikola Vaptsarov“ community center make their festive greeting to all residents and guests of the town during the concert “Colorful Palm Sunday“ on the occasion of the big Christian holiday.
On Sunday morning, hundreds of residents of Bansko gather in the „Saint Trinity”church to take willow twigs according to the tradition, and then they go to the central square where they celebrate with the amateur formations of the community center „Nikola Vaptsarov” in the town of Bansko. There they present a rich festive program and greet all guests and residents of the town of Bansko with the festive concert „Colorful Palm Sunday”.
On the occasion of Easter, the employees of the municipal administration in the town of Bansko create a beautiful corner with Easter decoration. It includes willow twigs placed on stones, and there is a flower decoration and colored eggs on it. About 10 000 spring flowers blossom in Bansko in the green areas, which creates a cheerful spring mood.
The green areas are decorated with various types of daffodils, violets, coins and tulips. Seedlings for the violets are produced by the municipality. It grows in a greenhouse that has been purchased by the municipality of Bansko, whih significantly saves money from the municipal budget.
In the same greenhouse are prepared seedlings for summer coloring. They will be used for the formation of flower compositions on the territory of the town of Bansko.
In this beautiful mountain town, students have a favorite Easter tradition, which takes place on 5th of April in the Velyanova House Museum. This happens on a Great Thursday. The students and historians from the Museum complex-Bansko, together with their coleagues from the community center “Nikola Vaptsarov“ make ritual breads and Easter cakes, they paint eggs with natural dyes according to the Bulgarian tradition.
The aim is to get acquainted with the Bulgarian Easter traditions and most of all to have fun. The Easter holiday in the town of Bansko, of course, can’t be carried out without the traditional Easter tapping with eggs. The winner tries his luck with his egg against the mayor of the municipality – Georgi Ikonomov. Every year there is a special prize for the winner – a basket of Easter delicacies.
On the occasion the Christian holiday, in the town of Bansko come various folklore singers and formations, as such is the young folklore performer Angelina Mileva who had her own concert in the central square. She is a student of the Thracian folk singer Diana Ivanova, and during her Easter concerts she presents a variety of folklore performances.
“Forgiveness” (Quadragesima Sunday or Amkata)
Depending on the church calendar during the first week of March in the region of the town of Razlog is celebrated the day of “Forgiveness”. This custom is related to the beginning of the Easter fasts. During Qaudragesima Sunday, boys and girls from Razlog go to the forest and collect juniper twigs. The collected twigs are accumulated on big piles called gareta, in all seven neighborhoods of Razlog. The main purpose of the pile is to be the highest and biggest.
After the end of the morning liturgy, the residents go to visit their relatives in order to ask for forgiveness. In the evening, the piles are put on fire an people start dancing around them. There is a traditional banitsa with cheese and eggs at the table of every family. Then a red thread is hanged on the ceiling, halva and eggs are attached to it, then they should be eaten.
Saint George’s day
Celebration of Saint George’s day is associated with the Bulgarian tradition “Dipping of the flowers“, which is carried out on May 5th. The night before the celebration, girls dress in traditional Bulgarian costumes and gather together secretly from the bachelors. They do this in order to place their flowers inside a ceramic pot where it should stay for the night under a rose bush.
Each flower is marked in a different way, so every girl is able to recognize her own the next day.
At noon at St. George’s day after the liturgy in the church, the girls take out the pot under the rose bush. They perform the horo dance around it while singing traditional festive songs. Then a little girl starts to take out the flowers from the pot one by one, and a young bride makes a spell for each flower.
The day of Todor /Todorovden/ is celebrated during the second week of March according to the church calendar. The most impressive celebrations we can see in the Katarino area. There you can enjoy the traditional horse races.
Races, pulling of heavy objects, competitions for the fastest and strong horse are also performed on the occasion of the celebration. The horses are decorated with ribbons and tassels in order to bring more festive mood and spirit.
Days of the traditions of Bansko
The celebrations of the traditions of Bansko are the most intriguing for the foreign visitors of the town. During these celebrations, you will have the opportunity to explore a variety of ethographic and culinary exhibitins, including exhibitions of the fine and applied arts. We can also enjoy folklore songs, see many famous people and to get to know better some authentic Bulgarian traditions.
This celebration has been taking place for three decades in the same period of time – from January 17th to 24th. This celebration marks the beginning of the summer tourist season in Bansko. During these festive days are presented exhibitions with different themes – culinary, ethnographic, of the fine and applied art.
Thematic dinners are also organized, which are dedicated to the old traditions in the region of Bansko. The abundant festive program includes also folklore, dancing and singing, nights of the humor of Bansko, as well as various concerts of amateur formations in the region of Bansko.
Traditional cuisine of Bansko
At the end of May there is an annual culinary exhibition of the traditional cuisine of Bansko. The exhibition is carried out on the last Saturday of the month. A number of traditional dishes are presented there, and they are prepared according to authentic homemade recipes, which are transferred from a generation to generation.
All visitors of the exhibition can see one of the most emblematic dishes of Bansko – chomlek, kapama, barbecue /cheverme/, kustureta of Bansko, kukurini, shupla, sach, grilled meat, lamb specialties and many more. Seeing all these dishes that go so well in a combination with homemade wine and brandy, we realize that Bansko is famous not only for its ski runs, but also for its culinary tourism.
The specialties of Bansko are served in all taverns and restaurants in Bansko and they are unique. Every last Saturday of May there is a culinary exhibition of authentic dishes of Bansko, where each participant can show his skillfulness.
The exhibition includes a number of dishes with interesting names:
- Bansko‘s grill meat /shish/
- lamb specialties
- homemade breads and round loaf
- cheverme /barbecue/
- odds and ends
- katino sach appetizer
- Banski starets
- Black pudding and flat-sausage
- Bansko kustureta with kazhelu and chakane
- katuk /cheese/
- tseluvarchi, sulovra
- kukurini, which impress with their unique taste and bring a real culinary delight both to Bulgarian and foreign tourists.
At the end of June, other exciting holidays are held in the municipality of Bansko. They are dedicated to culture and arts in the region. Demonstrations of folklore and art crafts are very impressive, as they include icon painting, wood carving, weaving, embroidery, knitting and so on.
The guests of the resort can take part at different stages of the performance of crafts in the Visitor’s center in Bansko. In addition to these crafts, there are also many performances of songs, dances and other music presentations. Here we can see a number of original and beautiful works such as dolls made of corn leaves, bottles with eco decoration or with decoration of waste materials, souvenir balls embroidered with paintings.
You can also enjoy interesting exhibitions of authentic costumes for harvest, wedding, Easter, as well as Sunday painting exhibitions, wood carvings and energy paintings.
In the information center in Bansko you can see icons with stones, beads and sand. In addition, in the community center there are bagpipe lessons, mandolin lessons, as well as folklore dance and folklore singing classes.