Bulgaria’s Plovdiv to hold ‘Aylyak Parade’ on May 4

The second consecutive annual Aylyak Parade will be held in Plovdiv on May 4 2019 at 5.30pm, from Rayko Daskalov Street through the main pedestrian street to Stefan Stambolov Square.

The parade is part of the Bulgarian city’s European Capital of Culture 2019 programme.

“Hundreds of participants with specially designed suits, leading the big dolls, and special choreography, will perform the most colourful and happy parade on the streets of the city,” the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation said.

“The partners from Handmade Parade – UK, and Stalker Teatro – Italy, will contribute to the magic with the experiences and emotions of their cities, where colourful parades are the most popular city events,” the Foundation said.

The Ayliak Parade is a project by the Zhar Theatre-Art-Culture Foundation in conjunction with Handmade Parade and Stalker Teatro; and the Plovdiv-based community centres Vazrazhdane 1983, Mladost 1983, P.R. Slaveykov 1908, Nâzım Hikmet 1922, and Nikola Vaptsarov 1928.

All of which leads to the question of what “aylyak” (айляк) means – and that is rather difficult to explain. A world inextricably associated with Plovdiv and the city’s culture, it is taken from Turkish, in which language it means “idle” or “do-nothing”. That, however, does not fully explain its meaning in the context of Plovdiv life.

More or less, for the people of Plovdiv, “aylyak” means taking it easy, not taking things very seriously, proceeding at a very leisurely pace or not at all, and all as a way of life.

The Plovdiv 2019 Foundation said that discussions kick-started the first leg of the “Aylyak Parade” project.

There were workshops for the crafting of carnival masks, costumes and accessories in May, June and July 2018, as well as a parade in the Lauta Park on October 27 2018.

During the discussions we will try to find out what lies behind the concept of aylyak as a philosophy of life and a specific point of view of the world, what makes it so special and valued not only for us Bulgarians but also for Europe and the world today.

We will be searching for the forms of aylyak; we will certainly be scratching our heads over how we can visualize this worldview; we’ll be telling each other stories about aylyak from the near and not-so-near past; we’ll remember some of aylyak’s true masters,” the Foundation said.

Hopefully, that made it all clear. If it did not, don’t worry about it. Now that would be aylyak.

(Photo via the website of the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation)



The Sofia Globe staff

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