Surva, the International Mask Games Festival held in the city of Pernik is the largest event of its kind not only in Bulgaria, but in the Balkan peninsula. It promotes the variation of Bulgarian traditions that are still alive today. They are an important part of the Bulgarian folklore tradition and are intended to be performed by single men and women.
Bulgarian masquerade games are mainly interwoven in the contexts of the holidays between Christmas and Easter. In different regions of Bulgaria men put on masks around New Year, during the twelve days of Christmas (Christmas till Epiphany), on Sirni Zagovezni (the Sunday before Lent), and on Todorova Nedelia (the Sunday before the start of the Easter Fast).
Western Bulgaria, the people who perform these rituals around New Year are known as Survakari while those who participate in the pre-spring masquerade games are referred to as Kukeri. The symbolic meaning of the winter and pre-spring rituals performed by single men is related to the end of the old year and the advent of the new and to the upcoming awakening of nature for new life. These rituals represent the wish for a rich harvest, health and fertility for humans and farm animals.
The Pernik Surva has a long tradition of making carnival masks
"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"