Bulgarian festival Hajdut Gencho in Hisarya

Last year, I was able to visit the Bulgarian festival Haidut Gencho, which takes place in the Momina Banya neighborhood, on the meadows in the Dulite locality near Hisarya. Unfortunately, I only now manage to write a post about this event, but since it is held annually, it may be interesting and useful for those who would like to attend the event this year.

Below you will see a map with a point where exactly is the Dulite area in Hisarya. Although, there are always signs at the main entry points in Hisarya directing you to the Haidut Gencho festival. The area where the fair takes place is also used as a moto range.

The purpose of the Haidut Gencho festival is to preserve and promote the Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage and traditions. The festival lasts for three days, with the start of the event being on Friday evening.

Bulgarian festival Hajdut Gencho

There are dozens of side events and a rich folklore program during the Hajdut Gencho festival. For me personally the most interesting were the reenactments with the participation of the Hajduk troops since such events are very rare in Bulgaria. In one of the reenactments, you can see Hajduk troops getting down from the mountains and people meeting them with bread and salt.

During the fair, you can see a variety of traditional Hajduk clothing at the time. You can look at the weapons – pistols, rifles, and swords that the troop fought with.

There are also many demonstrations of traditional handicrafts such as calligraphy, tile weaving, making “podnitsi”, wool felting and many more. Many traditional dishes are also prepared, such as hajduk beans, petrovden kurban, tutmanik, sweet banitsa and others.

Another interesting event for me was the Phelivan wrestling – again a restoration that you cannot see at another fair. Pehlivan wrestling is generally traditional in Turkey. In them, the participants – pehlivans, dub themselves with vegetable oil before the match. One of the requirements is that the fighters are naked from the waist up. The goal is to floor the opponent, which is quite difficult because of the oily bodies.

Initially, one of the organizers’ ideas was for all participants and guests to be dressed in traditional clothing or stylized Bulgarian clothing. Unfortunately, this idea did not come true, as not everyone has such clothing. However, 90% of the attendees of the Haidut Gencho fair are wearing costumes and traditional Bulgarian clothing, which takes you to the Bulgarian Revival times.

The main attraction for me during the Bulgarian festival Hajdut Gencho was the restoration of the Hajduk rebellion. Below you will see a short video of the reenactment during sunset, after which the event ended with a Nestinarian horo – traditional Bulgarian dance.

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