The Rose Festival of Bulgaria is a growing trend among travellers, and an experience you should consider having. So what is the Rose Festival, exactly, and why should you go? Read on …
The very first Rose Festival was in Kazanlak, in the Eastern part of Rose Valley in 1903. Central to the production of rose oil and (though the rose was rumoured to have been brought over from Persia during the middle ages) the only place in the world the Kazanlashka roza grows, it quickly became a prime commodity for Bulgaria’s economy as rose oil exportation.
As history recalls, rose-growers would deck models out in the beautiful roses and parade them around in front of potential buyers, and so begun the tradition.
The harvest season of the rose is significantly short, lasting only about 25 days, and each rose is hand-picked. It takes more than 1300 roses to extract only a gram of oil, so the substance is not cheap, often being referred to as “liquid gold” for it’s value. The oils are used in the production of many perfumes worldwide.
During the harvest season, the bloom of roses literally bathe the area in the sweetness of their aroma and, combined with the warm weather, make the Rose Festival not only entertaining, but it is said that the roses possess the ability to heal, rejuvenate, and relax.
Up to now, the Rose Festival has been held every year during the harvest season in June and is spread out among the nearby communities which come alive with the bright blossoms decorating every door and window, and proudly displayed in the hair of the ladies.
No festival would be complete without music and dancing, and the Rose Festival does not disappoint. The “koukeri” (masked dancers) delight onlookers with their singing and dancing throughout the festival.
There is also the election of the Queen Rose, and colourful parades lining the streets. It is said that the festival is held as a tribute to beauty.
For tourists, there are also options such as
- hand-picking roses in the field;
- visiting the rose distillery; and,
- tasting the jams, pastries, and liqueurs produced by the roses.
What better way to spend the warm days in the beginning of June, than surrounded in beauty, aroma, and laughter? The Rose Festival is more than a simple party … it is a rich heritage and a culture that one can truly appreciate becoming lost in.