Men’s dance in the icy waters of Tundja

They say that a nation whose men dance naked in the icy waters, and his women walk on fire, can not perish. For another year, dozens of men from Kalofer will show that the Bulgarian traditions are alive and will enter the icy waters of the Tundja River in order to dance a male horo / Bulgarian traditional dance/. In the past, the ritual was aimed at taking the fear of the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, but now the dance on Epiphany is pouring for health and prosperity during the year.

ledeno horo kalofer

On Epiphany, the blessed son of God Jesus Christ was named in the waters of the Jordan River. In the whole country of that day, the church cross is thrown by the local priest into the nearest water reservoir – a river, a lake or a sea, and according to the believe the man who succeeds to pull it out of the icy waters will be healthy and protected by the Lord throughout the year. In Kalofer, however, the ritual also includes a male dance in often frozen waters leading to the Tundja River. And whoever joins the dance will not get sick all year, says the belief. That is why often not only large and strong men are involved in the dance, but also small boys.

ledeno horo kalofer

On 6th of January the local men will enter the river first, and then enthusiasts with folk costumes and Bulgarian flags from all over the country can join. To cope with the cold and icy waters most of them warm up in advance with homemade brandy or wine. However, the amount of alcohol that heats up the passion should not be great, advise the locals. The ritual is one of the Bulgarian candidates for entry into the world list of the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO.

ledeno horo kalofer
Written by

My greatest pleasure in life is to travel. Undoubtedly there are a lot of amazing places around the world worth visiting at least once in life. However, Bulgaria is such a place where you will wish to come back again and again. In every season and every region of this small country, you can find unique wonders. So share my travels.