Winter Festival Essay

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“Your country is an example for our country” – this statement by the Dutch-born president of the Federation of European Carnival Cities (FECC) Henry van der Kroon is enough to make one want to visit the next edition of “Surva” – the international masquerade festival in Pernik. The first celebration was in 1966 as a way to preserve the tradition of “kukerstvo” (chasing away the bad spirits wearing scary masks) and “survakarstvo” (bringing in the good luck, health and harvest) and was known as “Winter festival”. Initially, attracting about 800 participants due to the now abandoned rule that only locals can attend, now, 47 years later, “Surva” has attracted more than 6000 participants including troops from abroad. The rapid growth of the festival has prompted Kroon, in 2009, to give…show more content…
The participants not only had to suffer the heavy suits, the cold weather and the stress of having to perform in front of a large crowd but also had to make their way through the bystanders. A part of the city square was marked with safety tape which marked the zone that is to be used only by the participants and the journalists who had a special permit. However, by noon hundreds of bystanders, armed with cellphones and cheap cameras took the role of reporters and disregarded the tape, thus merging with the performers who were trying to make their way through the crowd. Despite the appeals of the numerous policemen and private security personnel for, excited bystanders who wanted to touch or take a closer shot of the costumes kept on flowing so close to the participants that they were invading their personal space. Yet, nobody from the guest performers seemed to be annoyed by the attention and everybody responded with a smile to the requests of posing for a picture. This only shows that under the scary, monstrous masks there is a human as excited to show as the bystanders were excited to see how an ancient tradition keeps on

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