Gerogi Rusev, Daphne Oris
July 1, 2009. Nesebar. In Bulgaria, there is a tradition called July Morning (Bulgarian: Джулая or Джулай, Julaya or July) as an echo from the hippy era in the 1980s and maybe as far back as the 1970s. Young (and not so young) people from all over the country travel (often hitchhike) to the Black Sea coast on the night of June 30 to meet the first sun rays on the 1st of July. Naturally, British rock band Uriah Heep’s 1971 hit July Morning is the main refrain.
Although the tradition was emotionally linked to the hippy movement in America, it is still popular in Bulgaria. It is probably not observed anywhere else, because of its specific role as a subtle protest during communist times. “Official” celebrations started in Varna in 1991 or 1992, two years after the communist government resigned, and in recent years have spread to Kamen Bryag, Kavarna, Shkorpilovtsi, Irakli, Burgas, Sozopol, Varvara, Ahtopol, Chernomorets as well as the whole Bulgarian Black Sea coast.