On August 21 through August 23rd, the picturesque village of Zheravna will become a host to the Festival of Folklore Costumes. It is a great location for such an event, with its long history and many old houses from the Bulgarian Revival period. The settlement began developing around the 12th century, on the site of an ancient Thracian village. Since then, it slowly began developing, and during the Bulgarian Revival it was home to many famous writers, poets, politicians and revolutionaries. The most well-known resident of Zheravna was Rusi Chorbadzhi, a wealthy business man and politician. When the village was attacked by Turkish bandits, Rusi attempted to save the women of the village by hiding them in the woods. He was caught and murdered, along with his two sons. His house is available for visiting today as a museum. If you think about it from a historical standpoint, Zheravna has been a home for these traditions for a very long time.
The first Folklore Costume Festival was held in 2008. It was founded by Hristo Dimitrov, director of the Bulgare National Folklore Ensemble. Inspired by his wedding, which was held in a traditional Bulgarian style, and featuring 400 guests in folklore costumes, he decided to take this event and make into one with a larger scale.
The costumes themselves are absolutely beautiful, with loads of colors that will be sure to grab your eye. Their origins are thought to be mostly Slavic, but they also contain traces of culture from the Thracians and Bulgars, as well as other civilizations Bulgaria had contact with, such as the Turks, Greeks, Albanians, and Romanians. There are different costumes for men and women, and many variations corresponding to the different regions of the country.
The festival features various strict rules. In order to participate, you must be dressed in a traditional costume. It is forbidden to bring in any items from modern life, such as cameras, plastic items and others. Mobile phones are allowed, but can only be used to place calls in a designated area. This allows for a more complete immersion into the Bulgarian culture of the Revial period.