Tsarkva quarter

Tsarkva is a southeastern quarter of Pernik. It is a former independent village, which in 1962 is renamed to Daskalovo, and in 1973 becomes part of the town. After 1989, its old name Tsarkva (meaning ‘church’) is restored. The quarter is on the border between Pernik and the international road E79.

No memory is preserved among the inhabitants of the quarter about an old masquerade tradition. The existence of games with masks on Surva in scores of villages in the region of Pernik, including the nearby Kralev Dol and Dragichevo, stimulates several enthusiasts to establish their own survakari group and to give a start to the masquerade games. The core of the group are participants in the local dancing formation.

In 2015, young people organize the establishing of a masquerade group in Tsarkva and start celebrating Surva, as, according to them, the old tradition in Pernik region requires. They start collecting materials for the masks and look for a place where to store them. They manage to find a premises, which was once used by the former Agrarian-Industrial Complex. With the assistance of the Tsarkva town council, a permission is received from the Ministry of Agriculture to use the premises for the needs of the survakari group.

Thus, on the feast of Surva – 14 January (St Basil’s Day or New Year according to the old calendar) they start performing masquerade games in the quarter. The two pensioner clubs prepare the traditional meal – meat with cabbage. People from the quarter bring wine and brandy (rakia). There is abundant mulled wine, and a Surva fire is lit in the meadow behind the town hall.

Already for two years in succession on the evening of 13 January in the quarter, the survakari meet the group from the neighboring village of Kralev Dol. The two groups meet at dusk on the Kralevski road and direct towards the center of Tsarkva. There they perform survakari games around the fire, and the hosts prepare feast meals with meat and cabbage and banitsa (cheese pie). The confectionary workshop in the quarter provides sweet delicacies for the feast.

The masquerade group of Tsarkva quarter takes part in the International Festival “Surva” in Pernik, as well as in the International Festival “Kukerlandia” in the town of Yambol.

Recorded in 2019