Active Communities for Development Alternatives

"Melting Pot" Festival - Culture and Traditions of Local Communities

Monday, 04 June 2012

On June 03rd at Meden Rudnik residential complex in Burgas a celebration of the culture and traditions of local communities titled "Melting Pot" was held. Seven stands with culinary specialties from Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Israel, Poland and Bulgaria welcomed the festival guests. Along the art workshops "My Name in Armenian", photo studio, presents workshop, carving, pottery and dance school attracted more than 10 000 people who attended the festival day. The night of the festival was "lighted" by the bright coals of the nestinary dance. Here you can enjoy our storytelling of the festival day:


The stands with sweet and salty delights and traditional drinks of the diverse communities in Burgas welcomed the festival guests and caught their attention for quite a while. The culinary delights were sold on symbolic prices with charity purpose.



At the stand "Russian Cuisine" presented by Club "Russ" there was an assortment of blini, sour cherry pirog, pirojki with various stuffing, vatrushki with cottage cheese, favorki with yeast, mash with buckwheat and mushrooms, vareniki with potatoes and much more.


The Russian culture was presented also with the celebration "Maslenica". "Maslenica" is a winter celebration similar to the Bulgarian "Sirni Zagovezni". It is celebrated seven days and ends with a burning of a special doll – Maslenica, dressed in festive clothes. Before the burning ritual the doll is placed in a sleigh and goes around the town. The rest of the days 'blini' are handed out (their shape resembles the sun and people give them away to conciliate with the sun); 'sedenki' are organized, relatives are visited, snowmen are made and on the last day people ask each other for forgiveness. If on the same day, the smoke of the burning doll goes up in the sky – a good year will come, if it stays close to the ground – bad days will follow.


During "Maslenica" there were also dances.

Mrs. Sonya Pustidgian, Chairperson of the Armenian Charity Association " Hom" in Burgas spoke to the guests about the history of the Armenian people, followed by performances on stage of the dance formation "Ataram dzahinger" and the Armenian vocal group "Dzovi Asther". According to Mrs. Pustidgian, the Armenian community is one of the most cohesive communities in the country that develops active charity activities. Only in Burgas region the community amounts to 1 800 people.

The Armenian stand presented various Armenian dishes and desserts – vegan "sarmi" (made with raisins), sirtme (eggplant with veal), manta (bundles with minced meat), parsley kuftenca, small meat balls, semolina halva, ashure, pilaf, aganch ("ears"), anushabur and others.


One of the festival attractions was the opportunity "to have your name written in Armenian". Under the intense sunshine, Jiro skillfully wrote the names of the people willing to see their names written with Armenian letters and bring the small wooden plate back home as a souvenir from the festival.


The next group that performed on stage and demonstrated the beauty of the Turkish folklore dances was the folklore group at Chitalishte "Probuda", Dobra poliana, Ruen Municipality. The Bulgarian Turks represent the biggest ethnic community in the country. They are descendants of Turks settlers who came to the Bulgarian land at the end of XIV century and in the beginning of XV century.


The members of the Turkish community famous with their sweet delights again defended their title. The Turkish stand was packed with baklava, syrouped "roses", saralia, baklava with Turkish delight, shekerpare, halva with walnuts and flour, wedding bread. All that could have been gulped down only with a glass of sherbet!


The consumed calories could have been burned out immediately if the guests have joined the performance of "Romski zvezdi" ensemble at "Sv. Sv. Kiril and Methodius" school, Zagorci village, Sredec Municipality who "invited" the audience with breathtaking Roma rhythms.

The culinary journey continued with the Jewish cuisine preserving Spanish and Mediterranean origins. The presented culinary delights were made following the recipes of mothers and grandmothers: borekas, boikos, tishpishti, pastel and others.

The Jewish community along with the presented songs and culinary delights reminded that the Jews survived because they were giving. They wished everybody to be able to give.


Everyone was able to "buy" ideas for festive table decoration at the carving workshop of the Professional School of Tourism "Prof. Asen Zlatarov".


The stand with bee products attracted visitors not only with its striking vision but with the variety of products offered.


A cake with apples, sponge cake and "favorki" became the favorite Polish sweets of the festival guests.


A culinary attraction was the preparation of "luliakovski keshkek" by representatives of Asia Minor Bulgarians from Luliakovo village, Ruen Municipality. "Luliakovski keshkek" is done on the three dinners ad follows: Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and on Yordanovden. Also, it is prepared on other occasions such as – a birth of a child.

The Asia Minor Bulgarians are a small and relatively unknown part of the Bulgarian nation. It is the population of about 20 villages in Northwestern Anatolia where since XVII century to the middle of XIX century a few waves of Bulgarians have settled. They return to their homeland in 1914. Nowadays, part of their descendants live in the village of Luliakovo, Ruen Municipality.

The ensemble for authentic folklore at Chitalishte "Prosveta-1929" Luliakovo village involved three generations of amateur performers who search, preserve and promote the folklore of Asia Minor Bulgarians.


The skillful movements of the master who worked at the improvised pottery workshop attracted even the little ones into the magic of pottery.


The hosts from the Pensioners' Club "Zlatna esen" offered with a smile various types of home-made bread, masterfully decorated ritual breads, "wedding bread", banitca, tikvenik, "katmi na sach" with home-made jams, tolumbichki, etc.


During the day, festival goers were able to take photos with traditional folklore costumes of the communities presented at the festival.


The team of Chitalishte "St. st. Kiril and Methodius 1985", Burgas with input from the local community and the State Archives - Burgas prepared and arranged photo exhibitions "Burgas - My City - Once and Today" and "A Home of Panels - Gardens of Skillful Hands".


The day was June 03rd – the Day of Saints Konstantin and Elena (following the old style calendar). The old tradition says that on this day "nestinarski igri" have to be performed. The fire is a symbol of life emitting warmth and light, it burns the evil and we all gather around it to bring to an end this memorable for the local community day.

The festival was realized thanks to the work and efforts of Chitalishte "Sv. Sv. Kiril and Methodius 1985", Burgas, the local communities, AGORA Platform, America for Bulgaria Foundation and due to the partnership of Municipality of Burgas. Fourth District Police Department and the State Archives – Burgas.
With the media support of "Gramofona.com".
With the sponsorship of: "Ju" BG Ltd. Burgaspack 2 Ltd., Shopping Center "Ekvator', Lidl Bulgaria, Pobeda AD.