The festival was created in 2008 on the idea of Hristo Yves. Dimitrov – producer, choreographer and director of the National Folklore Ensemble „Bulgare“. Their attractive wedding with the folk singer Albena Veskova in 2005 in the Kostina area near the village of Ribaritsa in the Teteven Balkan is held in an ancient Bulgarian custom. The fact that the bridegroom and the 400 guests have Bulgarian folk costumes has a broad positive answer. This motivates the founder of Bulgare with the help of his partners Jan and Elena Anderson, the then mayor of Zheravna Lachezar Germanov, the businessmen Georgi Manev and Kalin Grigorov, as well as other supporters, to organize a much bigger event, anyone who wants at least three days in the year to dress Bulgarian costume and make a jump a century and a half back in time. Thus, the idea of an international folk costume, which is a kind of defile of Bulgarian and foreign folk costumes, combined with entertainment in an authentic atmosphere and obligatory personal participation of every visitor, is realized. Organizers and hosts The main organizer of the festival was created by Hristo Yves. Dimitrov and Andersen’s Bulgare Foundation. Together with the Bona Fide brand of Kalin Grigorov, the Municipality of Kotel and the Municipality of Zheravna, the Foundation organizes the annual International Folk Costume, the first edition of which is in August 2008. The festival of the National Folklore Ensemble „Bulgare“ has been unchanged for many years. The festival is a private initiative and is supported by the income from the entrance fee and the donations. Every year, dozens of donors and media partners contribute to the successful implementation of the patriotic initiative in Zheravna. Sponsors The traditional sponsors of the festival since its inception were Jan and Elena Anderson, Georgi Manev and Kalin Grigorov. Each edition is supported by dozens of other donors.
Venue and time The architectural reserve Zheravna was chosen by Hristo Yves. Dimitrov is the center of the festival because of the authentic Renaissance atmosphere and its accessible and convenient location – in the central part of our country. In 2008, the organizers concluded a 30-year contract with Kotel Municipality for the use of part of Dobromeritsa near the village as a venue for the event. The festival territory is set among the pine forests of Dobromeritsa hill. The festival is three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and takes place in the penultimate weekend of August, with its dates being mobile every year. Basic Idea Total detachment from civilization for three days and return to the rooted roots, carrying 150 years back, at the Bulgarian time, through obligatory dressing of folk costume – this is the main idea of this festival, which is not of a competitive nature but its program every year offers a contest. Everyone can feel the authenticity of the experience only if they personally participate in it, observing all the conditions of the festival rules, which must be well known in advance. Regulations Participation in this festival is a voluntary act and those who wish to participate in it comprehensively respect the mandatory requirements for its conduct. In order to give the fullest possible authenticity of the situation and its maximum approximation to the Bulgarian life of a century and a half ago, there is a strict festival regulation.
The main requirement for you to enter the festival territory is to have a costume that everyone can afford on their own. It is forbidden to import and use a number of objects of modern life, as well as of plastic products. Use of mobile phones is only allowed in a fixed location. During the first two days it is strictly forbidden to shoot cameras, cameras, mobile phones and more. Only the accredited media and the photographers of the festival have the right to do so. The ambition of the organizers is to achieve the typical atmosphere of the years of our National Renaissance in the name of an unusual experience, rich in pleasant emotions and unforgettable memories.
Traditional are the concert of professional Bulgarian folklore ensemble / formation / on the first evening, performances of groups for authentic folklore from all over Bulgaria and folk fights on the second day, concert of visiting foreign folk groups, fire-dancing games and Oleliya near the big fire the second evening . In recent years, several couples of real honeymen have chosen their wedding according to an old Bulgarian folk custom to be held during this festival. At the last edition of „Zheravna 2015“ was held a competition for authentic and stylized Bulgarian folk costumes. In the forthcoming Ninth Edition „Zheravna 2016“, the review of authentic folklore is replaced by a competition with a prize fund for clubs, schools and dance groups for Bulgarian folk dances. Festival Festival newspaper has been published since 2010 as a free edition of the festival, including its program, rules of conduct, up-to-date information, patriotic accents, and entertainment pages. The newspaper is 8 pages and is published by the Bulgare Foundation. A copy of the newspaper receives every guest and participant at the Folklore Costume Festival. Traditions and succession With each subsequent edition, the number of visitors and participants in the festival increases. All Bulgarian families choose the Zheravna festival in front of many other attractive summer temptations. Who once immersed himself in this new Bulgarian tale, yearns to experience it at least once again because of the unique atmosphere and the friendships he has created. Hundreds of families with young children are aware that this festival is a mission and therefore they bring with them their infant successors – to live with the Bulgarian at an early age. Thousands of young patriotic Bulgarians are visiting the festival every year. For the ninth consecutive summer, Zheravna gathers admirers of Bulgarian traditions and folklore and patriots of the same kind, for whom the people and Rodina are sacred words.