🇧🇬 Gabrovo Carnival

Gabrovo Carnival is the place to go if you need a good laugh! The carnival is all about comedy and satire.


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    When is the Gabrovo Carnival 2021?

    Gabrovo Carnival always occurs at the end of spring in May. The official dates for the 2021 Gabrovo Carnival have not been released. We will keep you updated as soon as we know. 

    Gabrovo Carnival and Comedy Festival

    gabrovo carnival

    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!

    Book your Hotel and Flight for the Gabrovo Carnival


    What is the Gabrovo Carnival?

    gabrovo carnival

    What is carnival in Gabrovo? Carnival in Gabrovo is an 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.

    What is the history of Gabrovo Carnival?

    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

    gabrovo carnival

    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

    gabrovo carnival

    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 2021

    May 17 th /Thursday/
    • 9.00 Holding a thanksgiving service
    • The church “Assumption of St. Mary”
    • 9.30 Raising the city flag
    • “Vazrazhdane” Square
    • 16.00 “My sweet Gabrovo” – an exhibition opening
    • Terra Mall – commercial entertainment center
    • 17.30 Official Session of the City Council – Gabrovo
    • Gabrovo municipality Ritual Hall
    • 18.30 Big Band Parade
    • Vazrazhdane Square – open stage

    May 14 – 18 th

    International Festival of one actor Performance, BGMOT 2018

    http://www.dramagabrovo.com/programa_bgmot.html – the program of the Festival

    May 18th/Friday/
    • 18.00 Street marionette dancing show “Cabaret on Strings”.– “Soulmate”  and Georgi Gadelev
    • Park with  the Bear (Gradinkata s mecheto)
    • 19.00 To Dance with Pambos! – an open  salsa lesson with Pambos Agapiuo and Los Pambos show program
    • 21.00 Del Padre – live concert
    • Vazrazhdane Square – open stage
    May 19 th /Saturday/
    • 10.00 National Children’s Festival “SMEHORANCHETA”
    • “Vazrazhdane” Hall
    • 10.00 Opening  a Children Biennial 2018 “In Carnival world”
    • Museum “House of Humor and Satire”
    • 11.00 Dani Belev, “QUICK HANDS Project” perform “A flying balloon stunt”
    • Aprilov Stadium
    • 11.00 – 14.00  International Carving Festival of Laughter
    • “Vazrazhdane” hall /in front of the hall/
    • 11.30 National exhibition  and Carnival-cat review
    • Orlovetz Sport Hall
    • 13.30 – 14.30 – Firebirds /Hungary/  presents the stilt show „Stilt Walkers“
    • “Radetzka str., ”“Aprilov” Blvd, Park with the Bear (Gradinkata s mecheto)
    • 14.00  Children’s Mini Carnival
    • Gabrovo Mall – garden
    • 14.30 – 17.00 Carnival make-up workshops
    • “Vazrazhdane” hall /in front of the hall/
    • 14.45 – Street marionette dancing show “Cabaret on Strings”.– “Soulmate”  and Georgi Gadelev
    • 15.30 – “Steam On” –  Firebirds (Hungary) – circus show
    • 16.15 – Cirque de la LyuLin and Diego Contreras (Venezuela)
    • Park with  the Bear (Gradinkata s mecheto)
    Part I – Children Carnival
    • Route:“Vazrazhdane” Square, Skobelevska Str., the junction to the “Yoke bridge”
    • Intermission – 10 min.
    Part II – Carnival Invasion
    • Route: “Aprilov” Blvd., “Vazrazhdane” Square, Skobelevska Str., “Bryanska” Str., The roundabout junction of the Consultative Polyclinic.
    • 20.30 – 24.00 – 19.30 – 00.00 ‘’Night in the museum’’
    • Regional Historical museum – Gabrovo
    OPEN STAGE /“Vazrazhdane” Square/
    • 20.30 – „JEREMY?“ – concert
    • 22.00 – 3D mapping and illuminations
    • 22.20 – Bobby Kimball – the very best of the rock band  “TOTO”
    • 23.50 –  DJ party with David Penn
    May 20 th /Sunday/
    •  11.00 ч. – 14.00 – International Carving Festival of Laughter
    • “Vazrazhdane” hall /in front of the hall/
    • 11.00 – 16.00 – Carnival after ruction /every hour/
    • Ethnographic open-air museum Etar
    • 19.00 – Jeny Jo and Ivan Stoyanov concert / participants in “Voice of Bulgaria 2018″/
    • Vazrazhdane Square – open stage
    • 21.00 – Theatre of fire and shadows “Fireter” – fire show, stilts show, fire performance, stilts performance, jumping stilts, fire juggling, fire installations, live statues
    • Vazrazhdane Square

    The full programme can be viewed here.

    What to wear to Gabrovo Carnival?

    gabrovo carnival

    Everyone dresses up at Gabrovo party. 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. Every is welcome to join the street party and most 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.

    Where to stay for Gabrovo Carnival?

    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 is 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.

    You can check out some accommodation deals here.

    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 humours art and comedian performances and jokes.

    For more information about tours, things to do, sightseeing tours, day trips and more click here. For a longer vacation check out Tour Radar for some cool trips.

    Before you go!

    We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance! Never travel without coverage! Being protected on your travels gives you an irreplaceable peace of mind. Don’t learn the hard way about the importance of travel insurance. Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads!


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