Location: Western Bulgaria Type: day trips around Sofia; festivals; Bulgaria Suitable for children: yes
Ever heard of Pernik, Bulgaria? If yes – you may know that it`s not the most beautiful city in the country. But every year, in the end of January, the city is taken by magic, music and madness. Masked men are dancing in the streets, bells hanging from their costumes, filling the air with joyful sounds. The masquerade games in Pernik begin.
The masquerade games in Pernik
All this is part of the annual masquerade games, held in Pernik. They originate from ancient rituals, still alive in the Bulgarian folklore tradition, performed between Christmas and Easter. The masked men are called kukeri and their purpose is to scare away the evil spirits and to bring good fortune, health and happiness to the people.
The festival in Pernik lasts 3 days – from Friday till Sunday of the last week of January, and it`s worth a visit if you are in Sofia at the time. The distance between Sofia and Pernik is only 30 km and you can reach Pernik by bus or train. If you miss it, don`t worry – another masquerade festival is held in Shiroka Luka in the beginning of March. The picturesque village is located in the very south of Bulgaria, in Smolyan municipality and it`s perfect for a short vacation.