Pesponedelnik means Dogs’ Monday – because when the dancers, mummers, singers enter the small traditional village of Shiroka Laka on the first Sunday before Lent, in the beginning of March, they make such a noise that all the dogs start barking. Indeed, to hear a "kouker" (mummer) is almost as recognizable as to see him – and every year more than 400 mummers gather here to take part in one of the largest such festivals in the country, among the lush Rhodopean nature. Those games are described for the first time from one Bulgarian ethnographer in the beginning of 20th century. In its present-day outlook, the festival is taking place since 1971.
Main figures in the mummers’ band are the Tsar, the Lad, the Bride, the Granny and the Grandpa. The mummers have a cart to carry their Tsar, a plough, a vessel with grains, wooden swords, maces, forebeam and a dummy. All this crowd visits the local houses, blessing the people with health and good fortune. The bride says she has come to tidy up, but actually she messes everything up. Anyway, the grateful hosts thank the mummers and give them presents: bread, wine, money. The Bride kisses the host’s hand.
After passing through every house in the village, the mummers return to the main square, where they perform their ancient rituals. First they run to and fro, making a terrible sound with the bells all over their cloths, trying to chase away all the devils and evil spirits from the place. The Grandpa uses the mess to "fertilize" the Granny. Then two mummers are harnessed to the plough, a ploughman drives them forward with a goad and ritually blazes three tracks. The Tsar walks after them sowing grains, while the rest of the mummers walk after him, waving their wooden swords and shouting… Overall, the whole festival is a real feast for the eyes you should see yourself!