Despite the drizzling May rain, everyone on the streets of Gabrovo is enthused in anticipation for the carnival’s procession: music is being played from the park’s stage and can also be heard from the surrounding streets by the troupes of brass band musicians practicing before their performance. Although we missed the morning’s events which are hosted throughout different venues across town, we’ve arrived in time to see Gabrovo coming alive with the sights and sounds of its yearly carnival.
Gabrovan’s love the symbolic cat and the carnival’s procession kicks off with a ceremonious ritual as the town’s adopted mascot, a (mock) black cat, gets his tail cut off. (There is even a beauty contest of live cats!) The Gabrovan cat refers to an age-old adage that the people of Gabrovo used to cut off their cats’ tails so they could close a door quicker in order to keep the heat in and is one of the many jokes about the thriftiness of the Gabrovo people.
The roots of the Gabrovo Carnival traditionally stems from street festivals from the 1920’s and has now grown to be one of the biggest events in the area. The day provides street entertainment and live music concerts from local schools, organisations, artists and performers which attracts many visitors from home and abroad. When the celebrations start to wane in the late evening, make sure you head to the centre’s bars or restaurant to continue the fun!
Along with the Kid’s Karival, the procession is one of the highlights of the day with people putting in a great deal of effort into their floats and effigies which often ridicule politicians or mimic well known characters. It leaves from the Museum of House and Humour before hitting the streets and finishing in the town’s park.
This year’s carnival program starts on May 15th with the carnival days over the weekend and is jointly organised by the Museum of House of Humour and Satire and the local municipality. Further information here and for more details on their program, click on their Facebook Page.