Irina Bokova presents the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Certificate for Bulgaria’s Surova Folk Feast

On 29 January, Director-General Irina Bokova visited Pernik, in southwestern Bulgaria, to present to the Mayor Viara Tserovska the Certificate acknowledging the inscription of the Surova Folk Feast on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Tourism Nikolina Angelkova, deputy ministers, MPs, diplomats and a large public.

Handing over the certificate, Irina Bokova stated that “traditions, songs , crafts and customs form the cultural fabric and creative life of every nation. They are the link between our past , present and future and this is why we must safeguard them and pass on to future generations. They are the basis on which to build mutual respect among different communities, and they promote social and economic development.“

The Surova Folk Feast is a masquerade ritual dating back to pagan times. It is held every year in the Pernik region on 13 and 14 January to celebrate the New Year and the upcoming awakening of nature for a new life. The Municipality of Pernik has been hosting the masquerade festival ever since 1966. Taking part in this year’s golden jubilee edition are around 6,000 people from Europe, Asia and Africa.

The feast is the fourth element of traditional Bulgarian culture inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity after the Bistritsa Babi dancing and polyphonic singing, the Nestinarstvo fire-dancing ritual and the tradition of carpet-making in Chiprovtsi.