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Showing posts from January 19, 2011

UP HELLY Aa-EUROPES LARGEST FIRE FESTIVAL!!!

The History of Up Helly Aa

   Up Helly Aa is a relatively modern festival.  There is some evidence that people in rural Shetland celebrated the 24th day after Christmas as "Antonsmas" or "Up Helly Night", but there is no evidence that their cousins in Lerwick did the same.  The emergence of Yuletide and New Year's festivities in the town seems to post date the Napoleonic Wars, when soldiers and sailors came home with rowdy habits and a taste for firearms.


    On an old Christmas eve in 1824, a visiting Methodist missionary wrote in his diary that "the whole town was in an uproar, from 12 o'clock last night until late this night blowing of horns, beating of drums, tinkling of old tin kettles, firing of guns, shouting, bawling, fiddling, fifeing, drinking, and fighting.  This was the state of the town all the night...the street was as thronged with people as any fair I ever saw in England".    As Lerwick grew in size the celebrations became more ela…

SURVA, THE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF MASQUERADE GAMES FROM PERNIK, BULGARIA!!

The Festival of Masquerade Games is the most important cultural event in the region.  More than 5000 performers from all over Bulgaria, as well as groups from many European countries take part in the festival.  It the most vital and deep rooted tradition of masquerading rites dating back to 1965.  The festival has been held in Pernik since 1966.  It is held on the last weekend of January.
   In ancient times the old Thracians held the Kukeri Ritual Games in honor of the god Dionysus-the especially known as a god of wine and ecstasy.  Even today the games are also known as the Dionysus' games.  Among the Kukeri dancers' are many different character, including Dionysus and his satyrs as well as other from deep history such as the tsar, harachari, plyuvakachi, startzi, and pesyatzi.










   People from Europe, Asia and Africa as well as representatives from every folklore region in Bulgaria, all come to Pernik to celebrate.  They come for the thrill of competitions and the pride of…