Strandja is the land of the nestinars. Those are the people who dance on live coals barefoot, as if they are protected by unknown power. It is a rite full of mysticism, superstition, and faith. The music comes out of the depths of the supernatural. The whole village gets involved in the celebration, but only nestinars participate in the ritual dance. Those are the elects chosen by the saint patron of the feast. They "see" His image, "hear" His voice, and get haunted by His spirit; on His behalf, they can predict the future, advise, and rebuke.
The Strandzha costumes resemble the Thracian ones. The male costume is entirely of the black-cloth type; the female one is of the sukman type with only a few exceptions.
Music and Dances performed by National Folklore Ensemble "Philip Kutev"
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Nestinarstvo (a ritual fire dance): It is one of the oldest Bulgarian traditions, which nowadays is only preserved in a few villages in Strandja Mountain, e.g. the ones of Balgari, Kosti, and Brodilovo. In 2009, the ritual was included in the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The ritual fire dance represents a barefoot walking on hot coals. Nestinars, i.e. the ritual dangers, who are fallen in trance, enter the circle with yells; the first nestinar crosses the glowing embers crosswise, and then the other fire dancers make their way into the fire circle. A special feature are the tiny and steady steps of the nestinars, when they walk on live coals and nevertheless their feet do not get hurt.
"Ti Poidi, Konche, Na Selo" (Go, Horse, To The Village) - Kalinka Zgurova
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