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Kyustendil's Spring

     The festival Kyustendil Spring is a tradition which existed even in Thracian and Roman times when it was connected with the veneration of solar divinities and healers Asklepii, Hygia, Apollo and Dionysus. In 1966 the date 21 of March was declared an official festival. It stems from the cult of the Sun and attributes connected with it – fire and gold.

 

     At first, the day was taken from the religious calendar because the Forty Holy Martyrs are celebrated at this time of the year. Since 1966 the festival has been held by a particular scenario with the following invariable elements: the beauty contest Kyustendil Spring and receiving and handing over the symbols of the town richness – fruit, an ancient pitcher of water and bread. The girls symbolize the tender step with which spring arrives; youth and new hope, similar to The Three Graces (goddesses of joy, charm and beauty) from the ancient, sacred tablets, found below Hissarluka. This is the first contest in Bulgaria for the most beautiful girl. By tradition the winner becomes symbol not only of the festival, but of warmth and faith in better days, too. Other elements of the festival are carnival parades, celebrations in Hissarluka, cultural, sport and other events.

 

     On 21 March every year no matter the weather, the residents of Kyustendil congregate in the square and later go to Hissarluka. There comes the winning girl and congratulates them on the upcoming spring, which is followed by a concert and the holiday ends with general rejoice. All events are united in one cultural programme.

 

    Thus, Kyustendil Spring imperceptibly turns into a combination of youth and beauty, of Christian traditions and ancient mysteries in the basis of which lies the cult of the Sun and its life-giving power which wakes nature from its hibernation. 

Do you know that:

  • the first fruit growing fair in the country was held in Kyustendil in 1896.
  • on the stage of Kyustendil theater for the first time in Bulgaria and in the world Mother by Maxim Gorki was performed.
  • the redwoods near the village of Bogoslov are the oldest and the highest in Bulgaria.