Mummers Festival Yambol

  • Description
  • Itinerary
  • Departures and Prices

Kukeri is a pagan Bulgarian tradition of Thracian origins - in ancient times the old Thracians held the Kukeri (Mummers’) Ritual Games in honour of god Dionysus. The Kukeri games are performed by men only, dressed in colourful hand-made costumes and wearing scary masks. Each has also a leather belt around the waist with huge copper bells (chanove) attached to it. The Kuker's masks are decorated with threads, ribbons, laces and usually represent animals like goats, bulls, rams, or even chicken. Some of the masks are double-faced. On one of the sides, the nose is snubbed and the face is good-humored, on the other side, the nose is hooked and the face is ominous. Those masks symbolize the good and the bad which co-exist in the world.

A very important thing for the symbolic meaning of the masks are the decoration colors. Red is the most used color - symbolizes fertility of the reviving nature, the sun and the fire; the black color represents Mother Earth and white is a symbol of water and light. The Kukers walk around, jump and dance special magic dances to scare away the evil spirits, to celebrate the beginning of the spring and hopes for a good harvest, health, land fertility, and happiness.

Arrival in Sofia. Meet your local guide and head to the city center. After short break for refreshment at hotel, You will enjoy a comprehensive city tour of Sofia and get to know the highlights of a capital with 7000-years long history. Among the most impressive sites are the Alexander Nevski Cathedral dominating the city, Church St.Sofia and the newly found museum under it, the round church of St. George, which is the best preserved Byzantine building, the Russian church st. Nikolas, Banya Bashi Mosque, ,the ruins of ancient Serdica and the National Palace of Culture.
Following breakfast, you will be transferred to the second biggest city in Bulgaria. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of ancient Plovdiv. During the tour you will see the Roman Forum and Stadium as well as the Roman Amphitheatre dating back to the 2nd AD. Walk along the tiny cobbled streets of the old town surrounded by beautiful Revival houses and churches and admire the silence and tranquility of this historic town. Visit the House of Hindliyan–national monument of culture, impressive with its artistic decoration, with many well preserved original murals.You will also see the Byzantine and medieval fortifications, the 15th century mosque. In the afternoon after lunch transfer to Yambol. Check-in at hotel and refresh yourself and let’s go to see the opening of the installation “Kukerlandia” (optional). Overnight.
After breakfast you will see the children’s folklore holiday “I am a little mummer”. Together with the talented local kids you can admire how sweet and frightening the children can be. In the afternoon get to know this charming town with a sightseeing tour. See The “Bezisten” (covered bazaar) which is the only such Ottoman institution still extant in Bulgaria. Built in 1509-1510 it is one of the largest structures in Yambol. Close by is the well preserved Eski Mosque- nowadays home of an art gallery. See the local community hall and theater, named on the famous Bulgarian artist Nevena Kokanova. Visit the biggest church in town - St.Nikolay and St.Georgi, dated back in 1737 which has a unique wooden iconostasis from the masters of Debar school. Visit the local History museum and the only of it’s kind “Museum of battle glory” where you can see tanks and guns used during the World wars. You will find also a unique self-propelled anti-tank gun Jagdpanzer L48 , which is one of the six preserved in the world, got into the Bulgarian army, probably as a trophy during the fighting in Hungary or Austria. Overnight.
In the morning you will have free time to explore on your own the everyday life in this town. Taste the products of local makers of wines, meat and dairy products from the bazaar “Wine and appetizers masquerade”. In the afternoon you will be taken to the village of Kabile. See the recreation of mummers games traditions in Tundzha municipality. After the show you will visit the local museum and see the antique town of Kabile. The open air excavations include remains of basilicas and churches, fortified walls and public buildings. The findings from the region are exhibited in the archaeological museum of the reservation. After its visit you will go back to Yambol. In the evening a concert will be held in the city center. Overnight.
In the morning watch the “defile” of the mummer groups which are not part of the competition but deserve your attention. After the stylish revue you can see the famous “kukersko horo” or the special dance of the mummers which is the main force together with the costumes, scaring the bad spirits and keeping them away from this land. Afterwards the real competition is starting on the main square. In the afternoon you can visit the local Art Gallery to see the photo contest “Kukerlandia”. Free evening. Overnight.
In the morning after breakfast we will go to observe the second part of the competition for the award “Mummer team of 2016”. In the afternoon let’s enjoy the closing concert of Festival Kukerlandia 2016 will start. Free evening. Overnight.
In the morning you will depart to Sofia international airport. Flight back home.

Dates and prices:
Prices are on request depending on the number of participants. For more information please contact us. ˆ

In 2016 the Kukerlandia Festival will take place in Yambol between 25th and 28th of February 2015.

Atlantic Tour is a member of BCCCI (Bulgarian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry)