A record number of participants are expected this year at the Surva folk festival in Pernik. More than 120 groups from Bulgaria and abroad will drive away the evil forces from the city during the event between 26th and 28th of January. More than 7,400 participants filled in the entries, and most of them are included in Bulgarian groups and will be part of the Surva racing program. More than half of the attractive mummers are from Pernik, and over 800 of them are children. In the defiles will also include groups from Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Romania, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, and Portugal.
The audience will enjoy the revived tradition, which is recognized by UNESCO as a living human treasure and is included in the list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. The official opening of the festival will start with the lighting a big fire and a lot of performances at 6 p.m. in front of the Palace of Culture in Pernik on January 26th. However, the events of the program start from the morning with the scientific conference “Masks and Policies”, which will take place in the Palace Conference Hall.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Unified Children’s Complex, you will be able to enjoy the performances of Surva’s children. During the three days in the Youth house, you will be able to get acquainted with the magic of making the masks of the mummers. In front of the Youth House from 11 o’clock on January 26th, you will be able to taste winter dishes and culinary delights from the region. In the “Lyuben Gaidarov” Gallery at 2 p.m. will be open the “Surva Art” exhibition and at the same time on the square “Krakra” starts the youth masquerade gorge. In Survakar’s village at 07.30 p.m., a concert program of the foreign groups participating in the festival will begin.
On Saturday, January 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Central Square in Pernik you can watch the racing festival defiles. The jury has divided the participants conditionally into two groups of mummers – „Survakari“ and „Kuker“ who fight for separate prizes. In front of the Palace of Culture on the second stage of the event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will be presented the foreign groups. In front of the municipal yard, you can join a creative studio, and a folklore program starts in Survakar’s village at 6 p.m.
The last day of Surva – January 28, also begins with the races of the square, which run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A culinary show will be held at 11 a.m. on the Estrada in the Town Park. On the second stage, Bulgarian groups will be presented and again everyone will be able to get involved in making masks. The official closing of the festival is at 6 p.m. on the Central Square.
Traditionally, the custom is held to chase the evil spirits and for good events during the year as a wedding or a baby. The masks of the mummers are made every year usually of animal skins, bells, flower rags, poultry feathers, horns, maize, wool. And sometimes the participants’ faces are covered with soot. In the past, only young people took part in the tradition, but now you can see many women and children in the defiles too.