Active Communities for Development Alternatives

Revival of Traditions and Crafts in Malko Tarnovo

Monday, 30 July 2012

Many people came to share the pleasure of revival of traditions and crafts in Malko Tarnovo. That happened during the Festival of Crafts "Po Malkotarnovski - ot izvora na Strandja" held July 28-29, 2012. The festival is organized by Chitalishte "Prosveta-1914", Malko Turnovo in the framework of AGORA Platform's project "Activating Communities through the Chitalishtes in Bulgaria: second phase", supported by America for Bulgaria Foundation and with the cooperation of Malko Tarnovo Municipality.

On the specially made stands, locals were able to present the products of their work related with textile, woodwork, basket making, painting, production of honeydew honey and wax. Also, there were stands with natural products of goat, cow and buffalo milk, honeydew honey, knitted wool, souvenir items made of maple sticks, authentic Strandjanski rugs, jewelry of stones, etc. The celebration in Malko Tarnovo involved not only local folklore ensembles but also ensembles from the neighborhood villages.


The Chitalishte was supported in the process of festival organization by the civic team consisting of 12 members, representatives of various organizations and professions: Chitalishte, municipality, museum, business center, school and also by elderly people and Roma people.

"Po Malkotarnovski - ot izvora na Strandja" welcomed about 2 500 people and another 236 people took part in the diverse activities of the two day program: food and crafts exhibitions, folklore program, the attractions - how to prepare "zelnik na vrushnik", "Dopleti me", sing the Strandza Mountain anthem, dance Strandzansko horo, literary reading and screening of movies.

10 women from the folklore ensembles of Stoylovo village demonstrated to the crowd of locals, guests and journalists how to prepare "zelnik na vrushnik" and bake it on charcoal. Later, the audience tasted the delicious product and the popcorn made for a few minutes in a special "pukalka". The most unique dish of the region is strandjanski zelnik.


The Competition for most delicious meal generated a huge interest - more than 30 women from Malko Tarnovo took part in that activity and prepared various specialties specific for the Strandja cuisine.


The special jury consisting of: Mr. Ivan Zvezdev - an author and host of a culinary program "Zvezdev's Kitchen", Mrs. Emilia Lissichkova - Chairperson of AGORA Platform and Mrs. Ekaterina Djemileva - culinary specialist from Stoylovo village were accompanied by Mr. Ilian Yanchev, Mayor of Malko Tarnovo. The Jury awarded the most original dishes with certificates as follows:

3rd place: Irina Apostolova with her Banitca with mint

2nd place: the unique "zelnik na vrushnik" prepared by Darinka Mihailova

1st place: was awarded to the youngest participants in the contest for encouragement and their gingerbread cookies with chocolate and waffles, prepared by Stilyana Dimitrova and Deniz Jeleva.

More than 800 people attended the culinary competition and most were able to taste the culinary delights.

The whole process of processing the wool was demonstrated in the afternoon of July 28th. Mr. Milcho Barakov, a member of the civic team skillfully explained about the full cycle of wool processing and the women from folklore ensemble "Magda Pushkarova" at the Pensioners' Club in Malko Tarnovo demonstrated on site the process while singing songs to the attending 30 people.

The festival guests were pleasantly surprised with the attraction "Dopleti me" where with the guidance of three skillful knitters they were able to finish a knitted item and take it back home as a pleasant memory form Malko Tranovo.

The festival day on Saturday closed up with movie screening. The audience had the pleasure to see the movies "The Magic of Strandja" and "John Lawton presents Malko Tarnovo Municipality".

The next day, July 29th started with art workshops with stones where about 50 children took part. Every child colored with paints a stone and took it away as a festival souvenir.

Later in the day, about 40 people enjoyed the literary reading in the Museum where Mrs. Katia Bogova, a journalist from Malko Tarnovo read peoms and stories about the town and Strandja.

The festival was closed with a workshop on Strandzansko horo and a folklore dance competition led by the trainer Petko Nanchev.

A folklore program with more than 120 performers was presented at the two festival evenings. A special guest was the famous Strandja singer Mr. Manol Mihailov.

The first festival evening the children from Malko Tarnovo ensemble "Philek" performed and impressed the audience not only with talent but also with the name of their ensemble. "Philek" is a spring custom performed only in Strandja. *"The name is Greek and means "love", "caress", "flatter ". It is performed during the Lent on Sundays. According to the church canon the songs and dances (horo) are strictly prohibited during this period - fasting not only with food but in also spiritually. In the spring games "Philek" there is no religious meaning. The youngest and still single people go out of the town on a sunny meadow and walk barefoot on the young green grass touching the re-awakening for life mother Earth. The young people sing songs without musical accompaniment and play many games in response to the longing for love and getting married. " (* The Historical Museum, Malko Tarnovo)

During the two day Festival the center of the town of Malko Tarnovo was decorated with unique "knitted graphite" knitted by the Chitalishte staff and some members of the civic team. An Arch at the square entrance was "dressed" with authentic Strandjanski rugs and knitted flowers.

The Second Festival of Crafts "Po Malkotarnovski - ot izvora na Strandja" will be awaited with eagerness and interest for the many and diverse activities to be carried out.

The material was prepared jointly by AGORA Platform and Mrs. Milena Drencheva, Secretary of Chitalishte "Prosveta-1914"