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Surva International Festival of Masquerade Games
At the end of January each year, the Surva International Festival of the Masquerade Games attracts hundreds of people to the famous town of Pernik, less than 30 min drive from Sofia. The town, which not long ago was one of the biggest centers of the mining and machine-building industry in Bulgaria, is nowadays investing in the revival of old rites and traditions and building a new image and attractions for tourists.
Before becoming an international event, Surva celebrated mainly the Kukeri and Survakari rites. These are still live in different variations in almost each corner of this country. Both Kukeri and Survakari traditions are generally performed by young singles and present a lively alternative for socializing and having fun.
At present Surva is no longer a small local event. Over 6000 people from all over the world attend the Festival. More than 100 groups from various folklore regions in Bulgaria, Europe, Asia, and Africa, participate in the contest. Winning feels good of course, yet, like most folklore festivals, Surva is mainly about sharing - sharing the traditions, the knowledge, the experience, crossing the borders of national history and imagination and exchanging the taste of creativity and interpretation. Naturally, the biggest attraction at the festival is the two-day parade of the masquerade troupes from Bulgaria and abroad. There are hardly enough words to describe the richness of colours, the unusual costumes, the sounds, the genuine fun which both the participants and the crowd experience.