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Traditionally, it is celebrated every year on the 5th and 6th of May in the village of Banite, in the Smolyan region, and gathers the inhabitants and guests of the village for a joyful experience.

Its two-day program is filled with Bulgarian and Rhodope folklore. The emphasis this year was on the presentation of the cultural diversity of the Kingdom of Morocco.

The official opening of the feast and of the renovated central square of the village, called the "6th of May", took place on the 5th of May at noon. Among the special guests were the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova, H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco, the Smolyan District Governor Nedyalko Slavov, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, MPs, MEPs, the Mayors of Smolyan, Chepelare, Velingrad, Nedelino and representatives of different institutions.

Host of the official part was Adrian Petrov, Deputy Regional Governor of the Smolyan District and Chief Art Director of the Folklore Ensemble "Rodopa". After an emotional introduction to the holiday, he invited Milen Belchev, Mayor of the Banite Municipality, for a welcome address to the guests:

"Tomorrow is Gergyovden (St. George's Day) – the Day of the Banite Municipality; a day that celebrates courage and the brave protectors of Bulgaria. Gergyovden was and will remain a symbol of the spirit of victory, of optimism and revival; it is aday that traditionally awakens the hopes of our entire nation for fertility and prosperity. For us this day is a new beginning, but also a day of reflection on the achievements of each of us and all of us together.

It would not be exaggerated to say that our roots and history have blessed the Banite Municipality for success. The spirit of the Rhodopi Mountain has loaded the people of the municipality with the strength to fight for their dreams and not to stop in the middle of the road; to cope with difficult times; and to think of themselves as a community of people with common goals.

There is no future without a decent past and present. Our ancestors have exacerbated their heavy responsibility to bequeath us what they have achieved, but we also need to realize their endeavors and aspirations to work unselfishly for the overall public good. When, if not today, we have to pay tribute and appreciation to the worthy and valiant local people, whose words and deeds are passed from mouth to mouth and from generation to generation! Let's not forget that our local patriotism is the best textbook for our children! "

In his speech, the mayor emphasized the financial recovery of the municipality, the adopted European practices and the implemented projects. The largest of them, worth almost 2 million BGN, provided under the Decree of the Council of Ministers, is for the renovation of the "6th of May" Square. During the past year funds have been assigned for the reconstruction of the street network in each settlement of the municipality, a contract was signed for the financing of a project for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the water supply system of the villages, for the construction of a water reservoir and the construction of a drinking water treatment plant. European funds have been provided for two particularly important projects – for the renovation of the kindergarten and the reconstruction of the streets in the Banite Municipality. "We are proud of what we have achieved and hope for a successful realization of what is ahead of us. One by one, our dreams come true" said the mayor. And then he wished to all the inhabitants and guests to enjoy the program and the holiday of the Banite Municipality and of the mineral water. 

The inhabitants of the municipality were greeted by Minister Angelkova, the District Governor Nedyalko Slavov, Tsvetan Tsvetanov and others.

The special guest of the Banite Municipality's and Mineral Water Feast, H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to Bulgaria, shared her joy at the fact that this is her second time in the beautiful and hospitable Municipality of Banite, and said:

"I am delighted to express my sincere thanks to the organizers of this cultural event, and in particular to the Mayor - Mr. Milen Belchev, who was so kind to invite me as a special guest on these holidays, which gave me the opportunity to share with you part of the cultural diversity of Morocco.
I am happy to celebrate with you all the holiday of the mineral water, the importance of which is clear - and the international community has long agreed to the fact that this resource is limited and its demand is steadily increasing.

Considering the value of this resource – the water, in 2000 Morocco created the King Hassan II Great World Water Prize - a joint initiative by Morocco and the World Water Council in honor of His Majesty King Hassan II for his far-sighted and strategic vision with regard to the protection and proper and sustainable management of water resources. This award is given every three years at the World Water Forum as a reward for initiators of innovative water projects.

In this sense, ever since the ascension of our previous King, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, our Sovereign has always encouraged the continuation of the construction of new dams, an area in which Morocco is one of the pioneers. Our Sovereign has always confidently supported this tradition, as witnessed by the thirty dams that are of different sizes, built over the last eighteen years of His rule. 

And at the end of my short speech, I would like to wish you a nice Holiday of the Banite Municipality and the mineral water!"

Greeting addresses for the holiday were then read by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev and by the President of the National Assembly Tsveta Karayancheva.

With the help of H. E. Mrs .Zakia El Midaoui, and her courteous cooperation, the holiday gained even more splendid mood and exotic flavor. The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco organized a bazaar of traditional Moroccan crafts, a tea ceremony with sweets, a Moroccan couscous tasting. While during the evening there was a catwalk with kaftans and takchitas, which were presented by the beautiful girls of the municipality.
In fact, during both days of the holiday there was a rich cultural program of professional performers and amateur groups from the Banite Municipality. In the evening of the 5th of May, celebratory fireworks were held, with the participation of the 101 Alpine Smolian regiment.

Within the framework of the program, a round table was held on the theme of "RODOPI - balneology and ecotourism region", opened by Minister Angelkovka, addressing the issues of balneotherapy, spa, health and eco-tourism. The place was not chosen accidentally - Banite has the largest balneological sanatorium in the Balkans.

Photos: "Diplomatic Spectrum" and the Banite Municipality

First line: The official opening of the Banite Municipality and the Mineral Water Fest. The ribbon at the renovated "6th of May" square was cut by the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova and the Mayor of the Municipality Milen Belchev.

Second line: The residents and guests of Banite took a look at the bazaar organized by the municipality with products of traditional crafts and quality eco products. They were particularly interested in the Moroccan products. They also tried the famous Moroccan tea with sweets. The tea ceremony and H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui were respected by MEP Vladimir Urutchev, Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova, Deputy Mayor of Smolyan Municipality and candidate for MEP Marin Zahariev, Mayor of Chepelare Municipality Slavka Chakarova; the chairman of the Municipal Council - Banite Zorka Dimitrova, the editor-in-chief of "Diplomatic Spectrum" Ekaterina Pavlova and others.

Third line: The Mayor of Banite Municipality Milen Belchev and his wife Krasimira Belcheva, the teacher of physical education and sports, the director of the school Pencho Tocutchev and his wife, the pop singer Hristo Paskalev - Pascal. The girls from the municipality took photos with the magnificent Moroccan kaftans and takchitas around the new fountains. They also denced a horo led by the mayor.

Fourth line: The celebrations in Banite lasted for two days with a rich program and joyful moments at the renovated "Sixth of May" square. The ensemble "Bulgare" was one of the highlights. Pictures from the renovated Square and Banite.