Carnival games


  
Masquerade Games in the Region of Pernik

In the region of Pernik masked people take to the streets in the night of the 13th of January and on the following day, the 14th of January. This is Surva or Vassilovden (Saint Basilís Day).
  Almost every village in the region has its own carnival group oftentimes more than fifty strong.
  Although there are some local alternatives, generally speaking, these masked men are referred to as Survakari.
  The authentic masquerade features a wide variety of characters but the main character is the mob itself consisting of numerous masked men with bells hanging from their belts, all moving in a special rhythmic step. A characteristic feature of the Survakari is the mock wedding they play out. This is the main difference with the Kukeri the centerpiece of whose performance is the ritual of ploughing. Other typical features of the Survakari include visiting every house in the village and dancing in a group in the village square.
  Costumes are basically two types: fur costumes and rag costumes.
The masks represent heads of peculiar creatures with scary faces. They have gaping jaws, horns, tails, or snapping beaks. The elaborate decoration made of feathers is supported on a wooden frame. Sometimes though, a mask can be as plain as a human face smeared with coal dust and disguised with fake moustache or beard made of wool, strings, or hemp.
  Typically, masks in the region of Pernik are made of goat and sheep furs, wings and feathers of poultry, horns, corn leaves, and hemp. Masks from other regions often incorporate fabrics, spun wool, beads, dry plants, and papier-mache flowers.
  The participants make their masks themselves or with the help of established village craftsmen. The process is complicated to the point of being a ritual in its own right and to the eye of the outsider it seems enveloped in mystery.