Balkanfolk News                                                              

The Festival of Masquerade Games Starts on 25 January
8 January 2008

On 25 January the town of Pernik officially opens the 17th international festival of masquerade games, the municipality of the town announced. 40 international groups from 13 countries will take part: Macedonia, North Ireland, Slovenia and even far India and many others. The expected number of participants is 5,000. The Bulgarian masquerade tradition will be presented by 90 groups, coming from different parts of the country. There will be a parade on 26 and 27 January on the central square at Pernik.

The beginning of the event will be a folklore spectacle called “Mystery – a power of the good”. The Bulgarian groups will compete in two categories – kukeri and survakari traditions. The guests from abroad will present their folklore traditions. 27 January would be the Nations Night.

A jury, experts in the field of ethnography, will give marks to the authenticity of the rituals, the dances, the masks and the costumes. The president of the Foundation of European Carnival Cities Henry Van der Kroon will be an official guest at the venue. The festival in Pernik is one of the most popular Bulgarian folklore carnivals. It has been organized by the Municipality of Pernik since 1966 and becomes an international event in 1985. In 1995 the town of Pernik became member of the Foundation of European Carnival Towns.

The international festival of masquerade games is organized each even year in January. The meaning of the ancient Surva tradition is to chase evil powers off the forthcoming year and bring health and harvest.

Translation: Vera Genova