International Mummer Festival “Starchevata”

The International Mummer Festival “Starchevata” in the town of Razlog has been conducted every year since 2008. The festival is a continuation of the centuries-old mummer tradition in the town. The organizer of the event is the municipality of Razlog, with the assistance of the European Carnival Cities Federation.
Groups from Italy, France, Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia, etc. have arrived for the International Festival in Razlog. The Bulgarian mummer tradition is presented by multiple troups from the entire country.
The mummers from Razlog are called “Chaushi” or “Old Men”, their costumes are manufactured of goat skin, and their cone heads which are up to 2 meters high end with horse tails. The most important element of the costumes is the bells, which can weigh up to 40-50 kg.
The international festival “Starchevata” is conducted in the middle of January has a competitive nature. Each group is assessed by a jury based on the presenting of the mummer tradition, the way the local customs of the group region are presented, as well as the on the clothes and the artistic abilities of the group. According to the festival rules, each Bulgarian group can be presented by not more than 50 participants, and the limitation for each foreign group is 30 participants.
The festival duration depends on the number of groups but usually, it continues for two days. Since 1995, Razlog is a member of the European Carnival Cities Federation.
Another local mummer festival having the same name is conducted on the first day of every new year. There is a lot of music and vivid costumes.

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