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. The event takes place this Friday on 26 January.
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 Municipality of Pernik has been holding the festival ever since 1966. In 1985 the festival gained international-event status. In 1995 the International Federation of Carnival Cities accepted the town of Pernik as its full member. In June, 2009 Pernik was proclaimed as the European capital of Surva`s and Mumers.
The International Festival of the Masked games takes place the last weekend of January. Its most attractive feature is its two-day parade for masquerade companies from Bulgaria and abroad.
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.
The contestants come here to win, to experience the atmosphere, to have fun and, of course, to get the recognition that they have been a part of it all.
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. 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.
Pernik is a town situated in Central Western Bulgaria. Lying mere 30 kilometers away from the city of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital, it is easily accessible by car, bus, or train.
If you are in Pernik, getting to Sofia Airport, Sofia Grand Central Railway Station, or Sofia Central Bus Station is a snap. From here you can get to Sofia in 20 – 30 minutes by car, 30 – 40 minutes by Bus, and 40 – 60 minutes by train.
The Regional Museum of History and the Krakra Fortress will be open for visitors during the XXV Jubilee International Festival of the Masquerade Games of Surva to be held in Pernik. Krakra Fortressnear downtown Pernik is a major attraction and testament to Pernik’s medieval glory.
Find more information about the festival here.