Drugan is in the Radomir Hollow on the main road from Radomir to Dupnitsa. A family of old people, who already cannot go with the survashkari, but still gladly and with love welcome them every year, with enthusiasm tells us about the Surova feast. The man has first joined the group in 1953 when he was eight-years old. Back then, they did not wear strange masks, only their faces were stained with soot and they turned their fur caps. The costumes were made of old pieces of cloth, cut in fringes, or of leather. They started to prepare masks first in the 1960s, when the “Surva” festival in Pernik was organized and the group participated in its issues. The man stopped masking and participating in Surova after he got married and his wife until recently took part in the masquerade group as a “mother in law”.
Another person remembers how on Surova in 1970 the snowdrifts were so deep, that the donkey, which the group took with them sunk into one and the survashkari spent hours getting it out. He was 14 years old, dressed as a “priest” with hat from painted cardboard, but the snow melted it and from the priest costume only the cassock, made of a black raincoat remained. Water flowed down from the clothes of the “bride” and the “groom”, the flag of the “standard bearer” remained behind in the snow, but the group continued going from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Today not only young men go on Surova, like before, but man, women and children of all ages. Until the 1970s, they did not light a fire on the village square; today they always do it, convinced that it is an “old tradition”. They carry big lit torches. The survashkari are around 40 people and have “the best masks”. Kiril Shtrapulin for whom it has become an everyday activity and a fate manufactures some of them. He gives them happily and enjoys that there are people who want to wear them. He made a big wooden sculpture of a survashkar which decorates the central part of Drugan.
On 14 January, each house in the village prepares a treat and gifts and waits for the masked men. Their crazy game resounds in every yard, “the bride” kisses the hand of the host, “the priest marries the couple”, “the bear” mauls people for good health. In many homes, the group is invited inside for a treat and is gifted with bacon, meat, apples, walnuts, wine and rakia (brandy). Recently the survashkarye bring with them a “gypsy caravan” – a cart with a horse or a donkey in which the gifts are carried. Houses with a recently deceased family member are passed from the outside and the wedding ritual is not performed, but the hosts bring gifts for them outside the gate. Often girls join the group to dance horo (chain dance) around the survashkari and on the next year they would wear the masks as well.
On 13 January, guests come to visit Drugan – the gypsy group from Radomir and the survashkari from the villages Peshtera and Dzherman. The Drugan group only went to Kosharevo village, but everyone prefers playing here in the village on their feast along with its residents. Every year strangers join the local survashkarye, they make friends with the locals and manufacture masks and costumes to play along with them on Surova.
Recorded in 2018