Surva, the International Festival of the Masquerade Games held in the town of Pernik is the biggest event of this type not only in Bulgaria but on the Balkan Peninsula as well. It promotes variations of ancient Bulgarian customs that are still alive today. These are an important part of the Bulgarian folklore tradition and are meant to be performed by single men and women. With its competitive nature, the festival is not only a venue but also a contest for the living vessels of this tradition, namely the Kukeri and Survakari.
The festival was established in 1966, and in 1985 the festival gained international-event status. The International Festival of the Masked games takes place the last weekend of January. The citizens of Pernik and visitors from other parts of Bulgaria and abroad come to watch the show so they can be part of the magic. They want to see the masks in person, they want to touch them for good luck and good health and feel rejuvenated and energized when they leave.