EVS volunteers discover the kukeri tradition in Straldzha

EVS volunteers discover the kukeri tradition in Straldzha


Discover the traditions of a country through EVS

As an EVS volunteer I´m really interested in learning more about the traditions and culture of Bulgaria. Thus, with a group of volunteers and friends we went to see the kukeri in Straldzha.


The kukeri is a Bulgarian tradition celebrated in villages and towns all over the country. The story says that the kukeri used to walk and dance around the villages scaring bad spirits away. Their presence aimed to provide the villagers with health, happiness and a good harvest.

The usual costume includes wooden masks of animal form, heavy and noisy bells and hoods. There are different kinds of kukeri costumes, from the creepiest to the funniest. In Straldzha the guise was not that frightening but funny. Colourful hoods and masks embellished with pieces of mirrors in mosaic work were the most common. There were various kukeri groups from different towns. In all of them, there are some usual characters like the bride and the groom, the bear, the gypsy doctor, the priest…The good thing is that we went to Straldzha with some Bulgarian friends that explained the volunteers interesting facts about this amazing tradition.


One of the most surprising things for me is the fact that in Galicia we have a very similar tradition. The kukeri in my region receive different names depending on the area of origin: “boteiros”, “peliqueiros”, “cigarróns”, “pantallas”… They are also wearing masks sometimes with animal shape and dance around the villages carrying heavy bells attached to a belt. During their journey they mock the villagers and visitors they find on their way.

Volunteering in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a country with so many things to discover. As a volunteer I enjoy travelling around and learning more about the traditions and culture. This is one of the possibilities that the European Voluntary Service offers you.