Photo Story: Surva 2015: A Day among Bulgaria's Kukeri

Every year in the heart of winter Pernik, a quiet town southwest of Sofia once famous for a mining boom, is home to the largest carnival event in both Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula.

This year made no exception as 100 000 visitors, outnumbering the local population of nearly 75 000, celebrated the Surva XXIV International Festival of Masquerade Games between January 30 and Febuary 1.

As many as  5371 "kukeri", belonging to 85 different groups flooded the streets of Pernik to scare away evil spirits haunting the earth.

Out of them, 5048 came from Bulgaria, while 325 foreign guests joined the festival.

1 of 25 | February 2, 2015, Monday Angel Petrov, Lora Tarkoleva

In three days, masked men (and, in recent years, more and more women and children) roam around the streets of downtown Pernik, but also neighborhoods, clanging away forces of evil and bring health and happiness to their families and community.

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