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Dancing in the fire Nestinars

Tourists can see people walking barefoot on hot coals and even dancing at the same time only in one country in the world – Bulgaria.

“Dancing in the fire Nestinars” – an inexplicable Bulgarian phenomenon
These people are called nestinars, they live in some mountain villages in the South-East of the country. The inexplicable and incredibly spectacular ritual of walking on fire is listed as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO.

This ancient custom is associated primarily with the day of Saints Constantine and Helena, which falls on June 3, but the fire-walking ritual is also performed during some other Church holidays. Non-veterinarians, that is, direct participants of fire walking, are not all residents of the village, but only a few chosen ones who pass their skill by inheritance.

The rite of walking on smoldering coals is preceded by a long preparation. The Central place in it is occupied by the sacrifice of a lamb, it is slaughtered to prepare a special meat brew-Kurban, which will then be treated to all participants of the festival. In the Central square of the village, a fire is laid at noon, which should burn for several hours, until dusk. Already in the dark, a festive procession with icons from the Orthodox Church is heading to the fire. A tambourine and bagpipes sound, and ritual melodies are performed.

The coals of the fire are scattered in such a way that a circle with a diameter of several meters is formed. And immediately, until the coals have cooled, nestinars enter the fire circle one by one. They cross it several times, then begin to dance in a circle. Non-veterinarians, most often men, but sometimes women, walk on hot coals barefoot, with a small and even step, and do not get any burns. Their clothes also remain intact, although the temperature in the center of the fire is about 400 °C.

The phenomenon of fire walking of non-veterinarians has no reliable scientific explanation, because many legends, beliefs and outright fiction have accumulated around the “dancing in the fire”. In particular, non-veterinarians are credited with the ability to predict the future and even heal the sick.

Dancing in the fire Nestinars

Commercialization has not spared this amazing ritual – “dancing in the fire” can be seen not only in mountain villages, but also on the sea coast of Bulgaria, in resort restaurants and variety shows. However, real non-veterinarians participate in fire shows for tourists, and they walk on real coals. It is simply impossible to fake this fantastic dance.

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