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Dances of the Nestinari

Bulgaria > Bulgari > Holiday
5 Evènement majeur, d'importance internationale. Participation fortement conseillée !
2021-06-03 00:00:00 2021-06-03 00:00:00

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Autres Dates
The ancient ritual of “Nestinarstvo”, or fire-dancing, is notable for its combination of Christian and pagan beliefs. Originally practiced in the Strandzha region near the Black Sea, this tradition takes place on the Day of Saints Constantine and Helen (June 3rd, according to the Julian calendar). On this day, the icons of Constantine and Helen are brought to a spring and consecrated with holy water while music is played on a drum and bagpipes. Then, the nestinari (fire-dancers) head to the keeping place of the icons and become entranced by the drum while burning coals are prepared for them in the center of town. In the evening, the nestinari make their way to the celebration, and dance across the embers with their bare feet, carrying the icons of Constantine and Helen. It is believed that these dancers enter a mystical state during the ritual, and sometimes receive visions of the future. When the nestinari have completed their dance, the celebration is closed with a horo (a traditional Bulgarian dance), performed by all of the attendants.

Nestinarstvo is thought to have arisen from the people of Thrace, and their worship of the Sun. Although persecuted by the Church, who claimed that they were possessed by the devil, the nestinari and their traditions have survived. The most famous and preserved nestinari ritual is the one held in the village of Bulgari, in south-eastern Bulgaria. However, thanks to the interest brought about by tourism, nestinari rituals can be found in all parts of the Bulgaria.

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