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Surva, International Festival Of The Masquerade Games

Folklore carnival tradition

The Surva International Festival of the Masquerade Games held in Pernik (a town situated only 31 km away from Sofia) is the most respected stage for the authentic folklore carnival tradition not only in Bulgaria but on the Balkan Peninsula as a whole. It showcases a still vital bachelor tradition, which can be traced for centuries going back to ancient pagan times. Because of its competitive nature, the festival is both a contest and a gathering of the people who keep the tradition alive or as most of us know them, kukeri (“mummers”) and survakari.


 Surva has been officially organized by Pernik Municipality ever since 1966. Back in 1985 it became an international event and in 1995 the city of Pernik joined the International Federation of Carnival Cities as a full member. The International Festival of the Masquerade Games is held in Pernik in the month of January of every even year. It is a two-day parade of masquerade groups from Bulgaria and abroad.