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A Local’s Guide to the Gabrovo Carnival – The Comedy Carnival!
Begins 16th May, 2020
- 1 Gabrovo Carnival and Comedy Festival
- 2 Where is Gabrovo?
- 3 What is the Gabrovo Carnival?
- 4 When is the Gabrovo Carnival?
- 5 What is the history of Gabrovo Carnival?
- 6 How do they celebrate carnival in Gabrovo?
- 7 Gabrovo Carnival and the Black Cat
- 8 Gabrovo Carnival Procession
- 9 Gabrovo Carnival Program 2020
- 10 What to wear to the Gabrovo Carnival?
- 11 How to Get to the Gabrovo Carnival?
- 12 Where to stay for the Gabrovo Carnival?
- 13 The House of Humour and Satire
Gabrovo Carnival and Comedy Festival
Bulgaria is not the first place that comes to mind when you think of carnival, but there is one place in Northern Bulgaria that is known for its hilarious locals who throw an annual Spring Carnival that is all about comedy. If you want to enjoy a good laugh, then you must attend the Gabrovo Carnival.
Where is Gabrovo?
Gabrovo is a town in Northern Bulgaria along the Yantra River. Gabrovo is a town with a population of about 80,000. They call Gabrovo the Bulgarian capital of jokes!
What is the Gabrovo Carnival?
What is carnival in Gabrovo? Carnival in Gabrovo is all about humour and satire. The Gabrovo Carnival slogan is “lets get crazy with laughter”! This easily sums up what Gabrovo Carnival is all about. The Gabrovo Carnival originated from old traditions and festivals that used to be held in the town.
When is the Gabrovo Carnival?
Gabrovo Carnival always occurs at the end of spring in May and the 2020 Gabrovo Carnival will begin on the 16th May 2020.
What is the history of Gabrovo Carnival?
Carnival in Gabrovo began back in the 19th century and it all began with the oleliynya! Back in the 19th century the first carnival occurred when there was a loud and fun procession featuring disguised people who were known as the Oleyinya. It occurred the day before Shrove Sunday.
The local people of Gabrovo had arranged the biggest annual fair to forget about their daily worries and just enjoy life and have fun. The participants all dressed in colourful outfits, disguised themselves and gave out chocolates and candies for the townsfolk. Underneath colourful umbrellas folk singers would sing heavy or joyful songs.
The Oleiynaya continued late into the night and the disguised revellers would move between groups making the people laugh. The Oleiynaya continued the next year and over the next decade, the tradition was kept alive because of the Gabrovo people’s creativity, desire for entertainment, thriftiness and ability for self-criticism.
How do they celebrate carnival in Gabrovo?
Gabrovo Carnival features parades, live music concerts, circus shows, street marionettes, acrobatic performances, carving workshops. Artists create amazing models and cartoons of famous people and current events. Everyone dresses in costumes and masks and there are lots of street parties, food, dances and drinking.
In addition to the normal carnival activities there are activities designed to make you laugh. There are stand-up comedy shows, poems, stories, pictures and sculptures of funny things happening. The Saturday of Gabrovo Carnival is the main day when all the parade occurs and lots of music, dance and food fills the city.
Gabrovo Carnival and the Black Cat
The symbol of Gabrovo Carnival is a black cat. There is a popular Gabrovo joke that expresses that the locals are so cheap that they cut the tails of the cats so that their doors shut faster when they enter so they won’t lose much heat in the winter. So, therefore the mascot is a black cat with a cut off tail. Gabrovan’s love their iconic cat with no tail symbol and they even host a cat beauty contest.
Gabrovo Carnival Procession
On the Saturday of Gabrovo Carnival is a big procession featuring thousands of participants and spectators from all over Bulgaria. The procession is led by the black cat with no tail but first the mayor of the city has to cut off the tail! The parade is a high-spirited, boisterous spectacle that makes its way through the central streets of Gabrovo and everyone is dressed up in costumes.
Gabrovo Carnival Program 2020
What to wear to the Gabrovo Carnival?
Everyone dresses up at the Gabrovo carnival. Every year Gabrovo Carnival selects a theme, and this is reflected in the parade as well as by the revellers. There are no old folkloric costumes here people usually focus on the current jokes of the moment. Everyone is welcome to join the street party and most of the costumes are satirical in nature. Check out some funny carnival costumes on Amazon.
How to Get to the Gabrovo Carnival?
There are no airports in Gabrovo or in the neighbouring cities but you can easily arrange a bus or train from one of the cities with an airport. The closest airport is in Sofia which is about 220kms away. To get a quote for a flight click here.
Regular buses and trains connect Gabrovo with other major Bulgarian cities including Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Rousse and more. It is also easily accessible by car. Get a quote for a rental car here. For European rail tickets please go here.
Where to stay for the Gabrovo Carnival?
Gabrovo is a small town in Bulgaria and accommodation during carnival may be difficult to find if you don’t book in advance. All the restaurants, taverns and hotels are crowded during carnival. Some good options are the Gabrovo Hotel.
You may have to stay a short drive out of town and some good options are the Lulyatsite Hotel Complex, Geographic Centre Hotel and the Balani Complex.
The House of Humour and Satire
Gabrovo’s biggest attraction is their Museum of Comedy! The Gabrovo House of Humour and Satire is the only museum in the world that is completely dedicated to humour. The Gabrovo House of Humour is an awesome place to go and have a good laugh. Its gallery features humorous art and comedian performances and jokes.
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