Active Communities for Development Alternatives

Six Caldrons of Hundred Liters each with Keshkek at the Radilovo Festival

Monday, 24 September 2012

On September 22nd – 23rd, 2012 at Radilovo village, Peshtera municipality for a second year was held "Festival of Keshkek and Peoples' Skills". Thanks to the successful start of the festival in 2011 the interest of participants, guests and tourists doubled in 2012. The festival has been held in the framework of AGORA Platform's project "Activating Communities through the Chitalishta in Bulgaria: second phase", supported by America for Bulgaria Foundation. Organizer of the festival is Chitalishte "Zora – 1903", Radilovo village.

In the preparation and holding of the two day festival more than 800 volunteers were involved. The number of guests and participants exceeded 3 500.
In the early morning of September 22nd, six caldrons of hundred liters each, started boiling with the mythical dish 'keshkek' after which the festival was named. The stones of the restored mill grinded the wheat grains turning them to 'Bulgur'. 

Again, the family from UK, Anne and Darren North, known in the village as "the new Radilovci" had prepared delicious traditional English specialties to welcome the festival guests and participants.


The festival was opened by local women wearing beautiful traditional Thracian folklore costumes who presented the keshkek legend. Participants from 10 settlements presented their traditional dishes, 5 settlements presented agriculture products and 8 locations had craft stalls.

On the open stage, 400 participants presented their skills in preserving the folklore of their settlements. An exhibition of paintings and gobelins of locals has been opened. About 15 people opted for taking retro photographs with authentic costumes as a memory from the festival in the Saturday afternoon.


The workshop for preparing ritual breads attracted 10 people; among them was the newest member of "the new Radilovci" – Keefe. The master Stoyanka Madina explained when and how the ritual bread „kukul” had been prepared. This bread is being made with an egg for Christmas and is given to the koledari. While waiting for the breads to bake, all people present learnt and sung Radilovo songs „Tsavti Rujo", „Tranchice le bayova” and „Rado byala Rado”. The professionals from "Krasen" orchestra, Pazardjik entertained the crowd long after the sunset on the village square where locals and guests danced folklore dances.

On the next festival day, new participants and guests arrived. The tasty keshkek was awaiting them. During the two festival days, 1 200 kg of keshkek have been eaten and even it was not enough for everyone. The open stage hosted performing groups from various parts of Bulgaria. The total number of participants performing on stage in both days was 800. There were a lot of stalls with traditional food, agriculture products and crafts.

In the afternoon, 6 young break dance groups from all over the country showed off their skills on the Chitalishte stage attracting lots of fans. The women from the authentic folklore group at Chitalishte "Vasil Levski", Elshica village expressed an interest to learn how to dance Radolovski hora. The "new Radilovka" Anne joined them as well. The loom workshop in the Museum was among the curious attractions of the festival.

A portrait from life attracted interested people at the artists' studio. The positive emotions and experience during the two days festival in Radilovo will be cherished till the next edition in 2013.