Rose festival in Bulgaria (Updated 2023)

This year attracted by the big advertising campaign for the Rose Festival, I decided to make several trips to Kazanlak and capture the rose picking and rose-boiling rituals, and the accompanying festivities in the area.

Traditionally the rose picking ritual takes place over the weekend in late May and early June. This year the Rose Festival is starting from 15 of May to and ens on 4 of June, with a rich program and numerous celebrations, concerts and festivals taking place at various locations in the town of Kazanlak.

Rose picking ritual dates from 1903 and it takes place near the villages around Karlovo and Kazanlak. Usually the Rose Festival location changes every year between these two districts. This year rituals were concentrated mainly in the villages around Kazanlak – Razhena, Kanchevo, Gorno Izvorovo, Gorno Cherkovishte, Rozovo and Enina.

Rose picking ritual

The rituals were recreated only on Saturday and Sunday, in a different village each day. By a 100 years of tradition the people of the village dress up in costumes and traditional dress called “nosii”, singing and dancing for fertility and large harvest.

A pleasant surprise for me was the large number of young people participating in the Rose Festival. It is commendable that young people are trying to preserve the tradition and cultural heritage in Bulgaria.

Where to stay in Kazanlak

Even children were actively involved in the rose picking, singing and dancing.

This year there were many foreign tourists, which was also very pleasing. There were guests from China and Japan, which traditionally respect the Rose picking festival and Bulgarian rose oil.

For me it was very interesting to see the rose-boiling and how it was done in the past, how is the rose oil produced.

Apart from the rituals in villages, during the Rose Festival in Kazanlak itself there is a supporting program with various competitions, festivals, singing, dancing and many more. In the fitst days of the festival the program is mainly on Saturdays and Sundays, and on the last week there is an event every day of the week. Quite interesting for me were: exhibition and tasting of traditional bakeries, majorette show and carnival procession.

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