Surva, the International Festival of the Masquerade Games held in the town of Pernik is the biggest event of this type not only in Bulgaria but on the Balkan Peninsula as well.

It promotes variations of ancient Bulgarian customs that are still alive today. These are an important part of the Bulgarian folklore tradition and are meant to be performed by single men and women. With its competitive nature, the festival is not only a venue but also a contest for the living vessels of this tradition, namely the Kukeri and Survakari.

The International Festival of the Masked games takes place the last weekend of January.

picture: Dobromir Raynov

On average, around 6, 000 people or about 100 groups from every folklore region of Bulgaria, as well as companies from Europe, Asia, and Africa take part in the contest.

Picture: Stoqn Draev

As of 2015, the festival has been designated as a UNESCO

Photo: Vladislav Ivanov Photography

The festival held in Pernik is the oldest festival of the masquerade games in Bulgaria

Photo credit: Radoslav Parvanov Photography.

In June, 2009 Pernik was proclaimed as the European capital of Surva`s and Mumers.

This year’s festival saw record numbers of attendance.

Photo credit: Kalin Hristov

The festival was officially held for the first time in Pernik in 1966

Costumes are typically made from goat or sheep furs and decorated with colorful fabrics, beads, and papier-mache.

You will be touched by the magic of the masquerade tradition that still survives in the region of Pernik.

Photo credit: PhotoBulgaria

Everything here is for real!

Photo credit: PeteVoditel

The citizens of Pernik and visitors from other parts of Bulgaria and abroad come to watch the show so they can be part of the magic.

Photo credit :PhotoBulgaria

The festival is accompanied by series of events – plays, demonstrations, shows and bazaars.

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They want to see the masks in person, they want to touch them for good luck and good health and feel rejuvenated and energized when they leave. 

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Surva festival in Bulgaria: masquerade games for scaring the bad spirits

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