For the 16th consecutive year, the Simitliya- the festival of mummers will be held at the Simitli Stadium. The event, which also has a competitive character, will bring together over 30 local and foreign groups from neighbouring Macedonia and Greece. The performances will start from 10 am on January 12th. Over 20,000 people each year watch how animal-dressed scary masks dancing men drive away evil forces and beg for fertility for the upcoming year.
The participants each year exceed 5000 people. The groups will be evaluated in several categories – for overall presentation, authenticity and recreation of the ritual tradition. Individual prizes will also be awarded. At present, 8 local groups from Simitli, and others from the municipalities of Elin Pelin, Yambol, Pavel Banya, Kyustendil, Pernik, Petrich, Blagoevgrad, from the Macedonian towns of Veles and Delchevsko have declared their participation.