Local culture strikes with an abundance of beautiful customs and traditions, interesting festivals and rituals, many of which have pagan roots. An acquaintance with local culture is an integral part of the holiday for many tourists; from the very first days of their stay in Sofia they are charmed with unique national spirit. Many travelers come to visit the city on the New Year’s Eve; this holiday is celebrated on a noble scale. The local name of the holiday is ‘Surva Godin.’ Like many years ago, New Year celebration is accompanied by a mass of symbolic events.
On the feast young people go for a walk along the streets in colorful costumes of animals; according to the tradition New Year outfits are decorated with survakari bells. It is believed that ringing bells attached to a belt helps to fight evil and bring good luck, so survakari are among the most popular New Year gifts. The celebration of 1st of March, the Feast of the arrival of spring, is beautiful and symbolic.
This festival also has its own symbols - small ornaments of red and white threads called martenicas. It is common to give hand-woven jewelry as a gift to the family and friends; it is fixed to the clothing. There are special carnival festivities in Sofia; here this holiday is called Sirnitza. The main festive meal is halva; this sweet dish is a prime example of the unique combination of Slavic and Eastern cultures.
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