In Bulgaria Easter eggs are dyed on Maundy (Holy) Thursday or Holy Saturday. The first red egg dyed is a symbol of health and good fortune for the family and is set aside to be kept until next Easter. The Bulgarian Easter bread is known as kozunak.
The largest public park in Veliko Tarnovo, Sveta Gora, is currently under reconstruction after years of neglect and is expected to be ready for everyone to enjoy by June this year. The total cost of the project is expected to amount to 1 million euro. This is said to be only the first stage of the thorough transformation of this favourite place of past years. A Ferris wheel, just like the one which was once perched on top of Sveta Gora hill will be reinstalled during the next stage of reconstruction; the panoramic views from the observation wheel are said to be unique. Also a Fairy-tale house will be set up; kids will be able to meet their favourite cartoon characters and to have hours of fun among them. An open-air reading room will also be available.
On April, 4th Tsarevets Fortress will be the arena of a number of re-enactments of everyday life routines from medieval times as part of the 12th Cultural Tourism Fair which will take place in Veliko Tarnovo from April, 1st April, 4th. The day’s events start at 10.00 am and will include@
- Demonstrations of medieval crafts;
- Weapon replicas exhibition and usage demonstrations;
- Medieval kids games;
- Open air museum showing armours, uniforms, military equipment and also plain clothes from Bulgaria, Byzantium, the Russian Principalities, Cumania, Western Europe and the Latin Empire;
- Lecture on medieval fighting skills and a demonstration (fencing with a single-handed sword and a buckler and crossbow shooting;
- Acoustic concert with medieval music performed by Der Dudelgeist Band on replica instruments from the Middle Ages.
Entrance is free.
On Sunday Veliko Tarnovo celebrates its official holiday. The events marking the day start at 7.30 am in the The Holy Forty Martyrs Church with a Holy Mass by Veliko Tarnovo’s Metropolitan Bishop Grigoriy. At 9 o’clock flowers will be laid at the monument of Tsar Kaloyan at the same venue. At 9.20 an extract from Asen’s pillar which is placed in that very church will be read out. There will be a march from the church to the building of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality at 9.45. At 10.30 the Mayor will address the citizens of the town. A festive programme with lots of artist and musicians will start at 11o’clock in front of the Municipality building; it will last until the early afternoon. A warm up party will start in front of the European info centre at 4.30 pm and the traditional street parade will kick off at 18.00 pm. Sky lanterns will be lit at 7.30 pm at Asenevtsi Monument near the Art Gallery; after that all the guests and citizens of Veliko Tarnovo can enjoy the 3D mapping show The glory of Asenevtsi Dynasty and the subsequent firework show.
A replica of a warrior from the renowned Terracotta Army can now be seen in the foyer of the building accommodating Veliko Tarnovo Municipality Administration. The 2-meters tall figure is a copy of a general serving in the afterlife army of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. The sculpture is a special gift for the citizens and guest of the Old Bulgarian capital from the Chinese twin town of Veliko Tarnovo – Xian. The warrior will stay there for one month; after that it will be handed over to the Regional history museum. The terracotta soldier was presented to the audience in the presence of the cultural attaché of China in Bulgaria. The terracotta army was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The unique Sound and Light audio-visual show will be played 30 times for free by the end of the year. Veliko Tarnovo Municipality decided to mark the 30th anniversary of the show with this gift for its citizens and guests. The spectacle was aired for the first time in 1985 to commemorate 800 years from the Uprising of Petar and Asen. The show costs 400 euro to play and lasts 16 minutes. It is played more than a 100 times each year and attracts more than 10,000 people annually. 60,000 euro was recently spent for the original red laser beam which is projected towards the end of the spectacle to be fixed. A second show is soon to be shown for the first time at Tsarevets; it will feature a variety of laser beams and 3D effects which will be projected on the fortress gates and walls. It will be called Between God and the People. In order to attract even more visitors to savour these magnificent shows Veliko Tarnovo Municipality will build new viewing decks at Sveta Gora Hill, Trapezitsa Hill and in the Old Part of Veliko Tarnovo.
March, 1st is a much anticipated holiday, marking the coming of spring! The day is known as Baba Marta Day. Baba Marta or Granny March is a mythical figure from the Bulgarian folklore, who is believed to put an end to the reign of the winter. She is a feisty old lady whose mood swings very quickly. When she’s happy the weather is fine and when she’s cross it’s snowing. This is why the weather in March is so changeable.
Bulgarians celebrate their centuries-old tradition and exchange martenitsi (small pieces of adornment made of white and red yarn) on this day. The red and white interwoven strings are said to bring health and happiness during the year. Red symbolized life and white – purity. They are worn until the person sees a budding/blossomed tree, a stork or a sparrow. When you see those, you either tie your martenista to that blossomed tree or hide it under a rock. It is said that if you see the stork flying you will have a good year; if the stork is on the ground the year ahead won’t be so fortunate.
Don’t forget to give martenitsi to your loved ones this Sunday