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The Surva Festival, Pernik 2017

Фестивалът "Сурва", Перник 2017

Фестивалът "Сурва", Перник 2017

It's magical, but also eerie. Admirable ...

It's Surva. The Masquerade Festival. Although it dates back to 1966, it not only continues to exist today, but also attracts more and more participants and spectators. Not only from Bulgaria. And from the world. Today, the festival, which gathers tens of thousands at the end of January, is international.

During it, Pernik became a scene of playful rituals inherited from the past. From our pagan past. Such are the ritual plowing, performed by mummers and weddings - by survakars.

Here you can witness them. To see the birth of a baby. Men dressed as brides and children with large male beards. Here you can see bears and bears, doctors and survakars. They all recreate a bygone tradition on the makeshift stage in the central part of the city.

But the biggest attraction remains the mummers. Fearful men, and increasingly women and children. Some of them - dressed in lamb skins and large masks on their heads. With sharp horns and large teeth. Weird and scary. Others - with wooden masks strewn with feathers. Built of two-meter wooden structures. Third - colorful and colorful, created from large canvases. Multicolored. Sprinkled with sequins, beads and mirrors.

And vats. Thousands of vats. Ringing, trembling, alive. With different sizes. Some are small and others are huge. Reaching up to 50 kg.

And against the background of all this, under the sounds of our - Bulgarian music, young girls play people.

All this is a legacy of our past. The past, in which people believed that ugly masks would drive away the evil forces associated with winter, and the sound of vats would amplify their action. These masked games were associated with the holidays from Christmas to Easter. The mummers were to drive away winter and welcome the onset of spring.

That's why the masks were made ugly. And scary. The mummers were neither humans nor animals. A bizarre creature dressed in skins. Performing various rituals, such as plowing and sowing - to have a rich harvest next year.

You can see this in Pernik. There the magic comes to life. The world is changing. The familiar disappears. And you move to another world - strange, different. You go back in time. In the past. You know him. You touch our ancestors. To their worldview. And in front of you change mummers, maidens, rituals - one after another. Every 10 minutes.

But magic is not just on the impromptu stage. She is everywhere. Move through the main streets. There is no way to pass it without feeling it. You will recognize her by the bells.

But this magic will have the strongest effect on you when you mix with the mummers. When you fall between them. When you look around and see chicken feathers or wolf heads rising above you. When you smell lamb skins. And you hear the sound of the vats - thousands moving in rhythm. When you feel the drum beating. And your heart beats in its rhythm. When you want to play. When your blood boils. And you feel proud to be part of this nation.

Author: Nelly Parashkevova

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