The preservation of the Gotse Delchev folklore and
traditional customs as a part of the national cultural heritage is on of
the chief task of the local cultural institutions: the Nevrokop Ensemble for Folk Songs and
Dance, the House of Culture, the Prosveta Cultural Club, the Historical Museum,
the folk song and dance group of Nikolina Chackardakova and the groups for
authentic folklore in the villages of Kornitsa, Banichan, Breznitsa, Borovo,
etc. The fairs and the traditional cultural skills such as music, dances, tales,
customs and crafts are still kept alive in the Gotse Delchev region. The Gotse
Delchev Municipality still possesses a much preserved folk culture - in its syncretism
- as an inseparable union of sound, movement, word, ritual, etc.
Traditional holidays and
customs in the Gotse Delchev Municipality:
• Christmas Eve and Christmas
of regional importance, which are celebrated on December 24 and 25. Nativity
rituals are performed in the Orthodox Christian temples. A ritual table laid for
Christmas is presented in the Historical Museum in
the town of Gotse Delchev.
is celebrated at the end of April in all Christian settlements in the region.
Customs connected with Christ's resurrection are performed. There is also an
Easter service in the Christian temples. A ritual table laid for Easter is
presented in the Historical Museum in
the town of Gotse Delchev.
• St Lazarus' Day
Lazarus' Day is celebrated in April (one week before Easter) in the village of
Banichan, 6 km south of the town of Gotse Delchev. Folk customs with songs and
dances believed to bring rain and a rich harvest are performed by young girls
Sirnitsa (The first Sunday before Lent)
is celebrated at the end of February in all Christian settlements in the
region. It is a custom connected with the Beginning of Lent. large fires are lit
in the separate quarters of the town and in the villages, and a traditional
family dinner with a cheese pasty and boiled eggs is prepared.
Babugeri is celebrated in February in the
village of Musomishta, 2 km south of the town of Gotse Delchev. Mummers dance to
chase away the evil and bring health, good luck and a good harvest to the local
St Trifon's Day is
celebrated in February in the town and the villages. The men go to the vineyards
with a wooden vessel of wine and a boiled chicken and make a ritual first
pruning of the vines for the year. A traditional local wedding is also
presented in the village of Delchevo
Midwives' Day is
celebrated on 8 January. Customs of gratitude for the aid in giving birth are
performed by the women.
St Jordan's Day is celebrated in on 6 January
in the town of Gotse Delchev. Church rituals are performed by the Metropolitan
of Nevrokop. They include the throwing of a cross into the Nevrokopska River,
which is then retained by some brave man, in the presence of many inhabitants of
St Constantine's Day
St Constantine's Day is
celebrated in May on St Constantine's Summit in the South Pirin Mountains, 5 km
southwest of the town of Gotse Delchev. It is celebrated with a fair with a
liturgy and a ritual meal of boiled mutton. It is actually the Christianized
version of an old solar-cult ritual.
Holy Virgin's Day
It is celebrated in the Life-Bringing
Source Monastery, 2 km southwest of the town of Gotse Delchev. The monastery was
built on the site of an old-Christian basilica. The Holy Virgin's Day is
celebrated at the end of April or the beginning of May (the first Friday
after Easter with a large fair, a solemn liturgy at the monastery, a ritual meal of boiled mutton
and common tables on the monastery's meadows.
Nativity of the Holy Virgin
This holiday is celebrated in
the 105-year-old Holy Virgin's monastery, 3 km west of the village of Banichan.
Legends and tales say that the original monastery building was built in c. 4-5
AD. 40 monks lived in it. In 1902, the old blind woman Tsveta went to its site and
dug out an icon of the Holy Virgin - she said that she had a vision in her
sleep. The holiday is celebrated on 8 September, 6 May and 15 August. Thousands
of Christians come to pray for health and solace among an extremely beautiful
area, where there were also a medieval settlement and a church in the past.
• St Elijah's Day
holiday is also in commemoration of the killed in the Uprising on St Elijah's'
Day, 1903 against the Ottoman rule in Macedonia. It is celebrated with a
traditional fair, organized by the Municipality. It takes place every year on 2
August in the locality Popovi Livadi, 18 km away from the town of Gotse Delchev.
Citizens from the entire Gotse Delchev region and parts of the neighbouring
Sandanski Municipality gather. The fair starts with a folk song and dance
programme by popular ensembles of the municipality including children's and
women's groups for authentic folklore, and continues with sporting events. There
are stands selling various products of the traditional crafts. It is also the
patron saint's holiday of the church in the village of Dobrotino.
The patron saints' holidays are
also celebrated in all other Christian temples of the municipality.
The Muslim holidays - Ramadan
Bayram and Kurban Bayram - are celebrated with traditional performances of
groups for authentic folklore in the villages of Kornitsa, Breznitsa, Lazhnitsa