This year again mummers from all over the world will chase the evil spirits away from Pernik and Bulgaria on the successive masquerade games Surva 2017. They will be held from the 27th to 30th of January in the Bulgarian town. This year are expected a record number of participants. A total of 115 groups will participate in the competition program. 16 of them come to the festival from abroad. The total number of participants is over 6200.
The official start of the festival is on January 27, Friday from 06.00 p.m. in front of the Palace of Culture in Pernik. Then will be lit the fire of Surva, which gives official start of the festival. Over the next two days from 10 a.m. To 05.00 p.m. you can enjoy the program of the masquerade groups in the center of Pernik .
Traditionally, all rituals are performed by men. In different parts of Bulgaria the mummers are called “survakary”, „babugeri“, „stanichari“, „dervishes“ and are given other names. They dance at different times of the year and with a variety of masks. But the purpose of the ritual is always to chase the evil spirits away and to ensure health and fertility in the coming year.
In Pernik the masks are made from the skins of sheep and goats, wings and feathers from poultry, horns, maize leaves, hemp. Elsewhere in the country, they are made of cloth, woolen yarn, beads, dried plants, paper flowers. Participants usually make their masks by themselves or trust experienced master to make their costume.
The first masquerade festival Surva is held in Pernik in 1966. From 2008 it is held every year on the last Friday, Saturday and Sunday of January. The competition this year is in four categories according to the age group and whether the group is from survakari or mummers. The criteria for evaluation of participants are artistry, presentation, keeping the traditions and the local cultural specifics.
The ranking is clear on the morning of January, 30. During the festival will be open workshop for masks, where the guests of the festival can learn more about the tradition. On Surva 2017 you can also taste traditional dishes and drinks, to attend art exhibitions and folk programs.