International Festival of Masquerade Games “Surva”, town of Pernik

The International Festival of Masquerade Games “Surva” in Pernik is the most authoritative event for traditional national masked games and customs in Bulgaria and the Balkans. It popularizes variations of antique ritualism preserved to the present day, a part of the Bulgarian folklore tradition, as well as similar rituals of other cultures. The festival has been organized by the Municipality of Pernik since 1966. Since 1985 it has had the statute of an international festival. In 1995 Pernik was accepted for a member of the European Carnival Cities Federation. In July 2009 the President of the ECCF, Henry Van Der Kroon declared Pernik a European Capital of Sourvakar and Mummer traditions. Since 2008 the International Festival of Masquerade Games has been conducted every year in the last Saturday and Sunday of January. Its most attractive accent is the two-day show of masquerade groups from the country and the presentation of foreign groups. Traditionally, more than 5,000 people in more than 90 masquerade groups from all ethnographic regions and Bulgaria and guests from Europe, Asia, and Africa participate in the festival contest. 800 people from all regions of the town of Pernik participated in its first edition in 1966. The festival is accompanied by a series of events – plays, demonstrations, shows, and bazaars.

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