July Morning, is a tradition in Bulgaria, associated with the hippie movement, to meet the sunrise on July 1. Although the custom has been influenced by the world hippie movement since the 1960s, it continues to exist in Bulgaria. It originated as a hippie holiday in Varna in 1980, later, in the early 1990s, the celebration moved to the village of Varvara, Tsarevo municipality. Currently, it is most widely celebrated in the easternmost coast - the rocks near the village of Kamen Bryag, where the sun first shines on Bulgaria.
The first celebration took place in Varna at the breakwater, where about a dozen people gathered - friends from Varna and Veliko Tarnovo. Among them were those who were on leave from the army at the time, and another was even celebrating a birthday. At the time, they carried battery-powered cassette players and guitars to fill the night with music and, of course, beer. Although the first celebration was modest and in a small circle, it turned out that the news of the July Morning spread quickly, and the following year several times more people gathered to celebrate the holiday.
The name of the holiday is associated with the famous song “July Morning” of the English hardrock band "Uriah Heep" from 1971. Every June 30 against July 1, many people gather on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast to meet the sunrise together. So they think that they are purifying themselves before him, some make a connection with pagan or religious rites.
The places where it is celebrated are no longer only on the Black Sea coast, but also in most large settlements of the country. Especially popular are the banks of rivers and all kinds of water basins, hilly areas with the widest possible visibility of the terrain, as well as any hill around the big cities. In recent years, July Morning has celebrated with the participation of John Lawton (ex-vocalist of "Uriah Heep") in the town with the most beautiful sunset on the Danube - Tutrakan.
The symbolic welcome of the sunrise is conceived as a welcome of a new beginning and expectation of a better future from the participants. In a broader sense, this is just the beginning of summer.
Initially, it was formed as a protest against the communist government in Bulgaria, expressed in the meaning and suggestion of the song of the same name by "Uriah Heep". After the fall of the communist regime in the country, the holiday continued to exist, but the lack of a source of protest changed over time the basic idea of the first hippie movement in Bulgaria.
The idea of July is preserved today. According to some, it makes sense to flee the city and civilization, to protest against one's own self and to completely free the individual from the shackles of the big city and digitalization and globalization.
In the beginning, the holiday is the personification of the forbidden - a protest against the government and a struggle for freedom. It is organized by a group of free-thinking young people who sang forbidden songs. Fires were lit on the beach, around which young people gathered to celebrate.
After the changes in 1989, rock concerts were organized regularly.
The main event during the holiday is the welcoming of the first July sun. In fact, the sunrise can be greeted anywhere with an east view, and for people who do not have the opportunity to spend the night outdoors, this is enough to feel empathy. At the meeting of the first July sun, a ritual bathing in the sea waters is traditionally performed, which has a purifying power for the participants.
Experiential and interactive activities
The experience of meeting the first rays of the sun on the beach remains unforgettable memories among the participants.
Due to limitations in recent years and travel difficulties, some of the rock concerts are broadcast online.
Main features and services that attract public
July Morning is unique for Bulgaria due to the nature of its occurrence, as it is not observed in other countries in Europe and around the world. Some argue that the idea has already lost its original meaning, and that younger people are not necessarily familiar with the conditions under which this holiday arose or even who the author of the song was. However, the excitement of the first rays of the morning, as a symbol of nascent life, is still the main reason people celebrate it.
Key partners and supporters
The participants gather at the places to meet the sun on their own. There are no official organizers, although in recent years some of the Black Sea and Danube municipalities have joined the organization.
Participants, local community and customer segment
Over time, July Morning has become increasingly popular among young people. People who welcome the sun on the first day of July talk about a magical moment that makes it worth staying up all night. This is the moment of sunrise, when light overcomes darkness and drives it away. According to them, this view brings unique pleasure, hope and peace and cleanses the mind of bad thoughts. They want to abstract from everyday life, to feel nature closer to them and to take time to communicate with each other. Of course, all this is connected with celebration and merriment without worrying about disturbing someone. The solitude of the beaches on the sea shore gives them this opportunity.
Communication and dissemination channels
As there is no official organization, communication between those wishing to participate is via live conversation or social media. In the last years before the event, there have been TV commercials for places where the sunrise will be celebrated, but as a rule, these are done for commercial purposes and distort the true feeling of the holiday.
Specific elements and features
Managerial and organizational specifics
There is no organization responsible for the event.
Once organized in places along the Black Sea coast, access is almost everywhere by car. In Varna, the breakwater wall is located in a communicative place and can be accessed even by public transport. It is best to travel along the northern coast by car, as village of Kamen Bryag is located on a second-class road, but close to the international road E 87.
Liaison with other activities and events of the Black Sea Basin region
The event is unknown in another country and has no analogue.
Black Sea coast in different places over the years - the breakwater in Varna, village of Varvara, Burgas region, Kamen Bryag, Dobrich region, Tyulenovo, Dobrich region, Tutrakan on the Danube River.
The meeting of the sunrise on July 1 is spreading to other places on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, moving away from the connection with the hippie movement. It is also noted in the inland of the country.
The event is held every year on the evening of June 30 and on July 1.
Organizer and contact information
The cultural event has no traditional organizers due to the nature and origin of the event. In most cases, and even with the emergence of the festival, it is organized mainly by informal associations of fans of rock music. In recent years, some local authorities, such as the municipality of Kavarna or the municipality of Tutrakan, have been organizing the event, which in turn has led to the commercialization of the original ideas.