With certainty the fire dancing is one of the most interest attractions in the Bulgarian restaurants, unique of the sort, existing from many centuries only in Bulgaria.
But we are already in 21 century and the ritual underwent significant development from its birth. The fire dancing- so called “walking on coals with bare feet” is born even before Christ as a pagan ritual performed from the ancient Thracians. With the dancing on the coals they fall in trance, they met the coming summer, glorify the name of the Sun God who carried with him the fire and they asked him to give them health, success and fruitfulness through the year. The fire dancing ritualism covers almost the whole territory of south-east Thrace as that includes Bulgaria – Strandzha mountain ( Balgari village, Rezovo village, Brodilovo village and others), Тurkey (Bunarhisar) and Greece (Kosti, Agio Yani, Urgas and others).
After the conversion of Bulgaria and adopting the Christianity for official and only religion, the ritual died anathematized from the Church, forbidden as a heresy. Centuries passed and the people who were walking on coals, who have no scars from burning, fall in oblivion in myths and legends.
But in 14 century after Christ Bulgaria is captured from Turkey and putted under Turkish government. The population of Bulgaria forcibly assimilated and the villages and towns burned and later they disappeared. So the fortune of the Bulgarian village Balgari in Strandzha Mountain is the same where by chance or not was considered that there is the most important place for the fire dancers. After the Turkish attacked and plundered Balgari village they burned it. An old woman saw that together with the houses burns the chapel. With last powers she entered with bare feet and took the only left not touched from the fire icon of Saint Constantine and Elena and took it out of the chapel walking and shaking as though she was falling in trance through the coals. For surprise of the people who saw her she had no scars from burning. Since then the fire dancing came back. As protector of the fire dancers are considered Saint Constantine and Elena as the ritual is performed basically on their holiday – 21, 22 May (at the old style) or 3,4 June (at the new style).
The superstition is that the fire which burns pursued the ghosts, deceases and misfortune, purifies and absolves the sins of the present people at the ritual and makes them stronger and calmer. The fire dancers carry on their hands over the coals sick people to cure them, children and young people for long living. It is considered that the fire dancing is charisma and not inherited gift and as the fire dancers believe the charisma finds itself the chosen and the deserving one.
They say: “For you to may dance over coals you must want it, for to dance without burn yourself and Saint Constantine and Elena must choose you and protect you.
When you feel that the music obsess you the drum measure your pulse of your heart you feel that you fly and your body became weak and everything around you disappears you will not understand that you are dancing enchanted your ancient and mysterious dance over the sparkling coals”.
But now a day this ritual is not accepted so much as ritual dance but it is implemented mostly in the Bulgarian restaurants in Bulgaria and abroad. So to finish my story I can say only that to be fire dancer wherever it is you really must want it and you to be permitted to believe and to prey.