INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE MASQUERADE GAMES
(SURVA – KUKERI FESTIVAL)
In ancient Bulgaria, wearing masks was believed to provide protection from evil, ensure a successful harvest, and guarantee health and fertility for humans and farm animals. Many of these pagan rituals, which were later incorporated into Christianity, are still performed in eastern Bulgaria between the holidays of Christmas and Easter. Rituals held around the New Year are known as Surva, while those performed around Easter are known as Kukeri. Today the International Festival of the Masquerade Games, held in the town of Pernik, still celebrates these customs. During the festival, which is the biggest event on the Balkan Peninsula, single men and women called Kukeri and Survakari, don traditional Bulgarian costumes and elaborate masks and parade down the streets of Pernik.
On average, around 6,000 people (about 100 groups) from every folklore region of Bulgaria, as well as companies from Europe, Asia, and Africa take part in the contest. The contestants come here to win, to experience the atmosphere, to have fun and be part of the magic. For three whole days they sing and perform a series of intricate dance steps, ringing bells as they wind through the streets. Participants interact freely with the audience along the parade routes and on stages set up throughout the town. People often want to touch the masks for good luck and good health. An incandescent fiery spectacle, bonfires and light shows, envelop participants in the festival’s mystery.
Many legends date back to the 7th centuries the First Bulgarian Empire, however other tales relate to the Thracian times. In 1995 the International Federation of Carnival Cities accepted the town of Pernik as a full member. In June, 2009, Pernik was proclaimed as the European capital of Survas & Mummers and included in the UNESCO list of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Looking for more ideas:
We are traditionalists who are passionate about our folklore, culture, food, history, and nature. In order to provide our guests with an unparalleled experience, we explored every nook and cranny of our country. We met the winegrowers, farmers, and the elderly people who shared their stories with us. We simply fell in love with everything what Bulgaria has to offer and can hardly wait to show it to you.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A PRIVATE TOUR AND WANT TO DISCOVER MORE THAN THE TOURIST SIGHTS, THAN YOUR GUIDES ARE WAITING FOR YOU…
Did we get your attention? Let’s start our journey through Bulgaria together and discover it all!