The International Festival of Masquerade Games “Surva” in Pernik is the most prestigious in Bulgaria and the Balkans expression of traditional folk games and customs with masks. He has popularized the versions of ancient bachelor rituals, part of the Bulgarian folklore tradition. With its competition program, the festival is a meeting and a contest of its live media, most popular with the names “Survakari” and “Kukeri”.
The festival was organized by the Municipality of Pernik from 1966. Since 1985, it has the status of an international. In 1995 Pernik was accepted as a member of the Federation of European Carnival Cities. On June 26, 2009, during a solemn session of the Pernik Municipal Council, FEC President Henry van der Kron announced Pernik as the European capital of the Survakar and Kuker traditions. The decision was made in Kotor. Since 2008, the International Masquerade Games Festival is held annually on the last Saturday and Sunday of January. His most attractive accent is the two-day racing defile of masquerade groups from the country and from abroad.Traditionally, about 6,000 people participate in the festival competition in about 100 masquerade groups from all ethnographic regions of Bulgaria and guests from Europe, Asia and Africa.
The participants come to Pernik for a competition, for the emotion, for the fun, for the recognition that they have participated. The viewers from Pernik and the whole country, the guests from abroad, come to share the magic of the game, to see and touch the masks, to feel refreshed, to wish for health and luck.