Fire running

by Samuel Finzi

Earth, how are you doing? (Issue I/2018)


They have a certain technique; they prance over it in small steps and keep their feet as flat as possible so as not to burn themselves. Somehow, with courage and training, they manage it. It never tempted me, not even when I was drunk. But I have never experienced the Nestinarstvo in its original form.

The custom has now become a tourist attraction in restaurants and clubs where it is staged by a troupe. The Nestinarstvo is actually a pagan tradition, which then merged with Christian customs. In Bulgaria, we have a fusion of many traditions. Half of all Bulgarians came with the migration of people from the Urals and from Asia, which mixed with the Slavs and Thracians. There are also influences from the Ottoman Empire, which Bulgaria was part of for 500 years. Rituals like running on fire suggest that European and the Oriental cultures merge in Bulgaria.



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