• Desislav Mihaylov Department of Choreography, Southwestern University "Neofit Rilski" – Blagoevgrad
Keywords: nesting, art, paganism, glowing, dance


Every nation has its folklore. The ancient Bulgarian culture had mastered the connection between sky and Earth and used it to offer gifts to the gods above or also for personal sublimity – separating the mind from the body. In the beginning there was the paganism – the pre-Christian religion. The paganism presented as one whole the tribe beliefs, myths, legends, religious ideas, prophecies, developed in time, and later on – Christianity. The Christianization of the pagan practices, culture, sites and calendar, managed to deliver proper saints and to find reason behind the actions of the folklorist. Not all actions, rites and folk customs succeeded to fit the bill and the ones that didn‟t, were banned from the church. The “Nestinar” practices are example for this. Christianity provides religious life, while paganism gives religious experience. In this difference are hidden the “nestinar” principles. Through the years, the tradition was forbidden by many, but somehow survived in a couple of populated regions. Many people tried to study it; each one observed it in his field – as signs and symbols (semiotic analysis), as part of the customs, as music or as a dance, but they never tried to examine it as a compound, a system. The “nestinar” practices are a meeting between past and future. They are a tradition that is showing part of the cultural legacy of our nation. They are mysterious introduction to something unique and unfamiliar, but in the meantime something in existence for centuries. This is an ancient ritual with a dance on glowing embers, fire. It is part of complicated combination, where in the epicenter are the primary values of the human-being and its constant pursuit of happiness.
Nowadays, we consider the people, who walk on fire for “nestinars”. This post-folklore idea is taken away from the real meaning of the tradition. The “nestinars” are divided in two groups: real and others. The main difference is that the first ones know, they are not “nestinars” in the pure meaning of the practice, and the other ones consider themselves to be “nestinars”, only because they have the gift of walking on fire. Of course, these people have nothing to do with the real tradition and ritual. They can not reach the special dimensions, from which they are supposed to obtain information about the past, the present and the future. They can not reach the “nestinar” trance, because for them losing the connection with the surrounding world is learnt, not a phenomenon. This “phenomenon” is famous for allowing the “nestinars” to reach out to an information source not visible for the others. Today, the new fire-walkers make money out of the tradition and this has nothing to do with the sacral “nestinar” practices. They are unaware that the fire signifies the path to this foreign dimension and it is not a tool for creating some sort of fun for the audience. The fire brings warmth, it is the epicenter; the vertical ray represents the male beginning or the mind, the horizontal – the female beginning or the matter. The mind revives and reproduces the matter and everything begins from the “epicenter” – The Meaning of Life, the Light and Warmth – introduced by the earthly fire. The fire itself symbolizes the Sun.


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How to Cite
Mihaylov, D. (2020). THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NESTINAR PRACTICES – MYSTICISM AND REALITY. Knowledge International Journal, 40(6), 1205 - 1209. Retrieved from