10.COM 10.B.10

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Bulgaria has nominated Surova folk feast in Pernik region (No. 00968) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Surova folk feast in Pernik region takes place each year on 13 and 14 January to celebrate the New Year according to the old calendar. The core of the celebration is a popular masquerade ritual performed in villages throughout the region. On the first night, Survakari masquerade groups, consisting of men, women and children, don specially prepared masks and costumes and head towards the village centre where they light fires, and tease and play with the watching audience. Some participants adopt special roles, such as the leader, the newly-weds, the priest and the bear. Early the next morning, they gather and walk throughout the village visiting houses, where they ritually marry young couples while the bear ‘mauls’ people for good health. Hosts await their arrival with a ritual meal and gifts. After the folk feast, the Survakari distribute the gifts, often donating collected funds to orphans and poor people. The masquerade experience appeals to young people and raises their self-esteem as continuers of the tradition. Whole families engage in collecting materials for the masks and the other attributes during that entire year, with adults teaching young people and children how to make the distinctive masks and costumes.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

R.1:   The Surova folk feast has been transmitted through generations, providing its participants a sense of identity and continuity while promoting social cohesion among local people and contributing to mutual respect among communities;

R.2:   Inscription of the element could enhance the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage more broadly and awareness of its significance, particularly in places where similar masquerade traditions are practised, thereby contributing to the promotion of respect for cultural diversity and human creativity; in addition, it could contribute to the enhancement of dialogue across generations while promoting social solidarity with those less advantaged;

R.3:   The nomination presented an elaborated set of safeguarding measures designed as a result of collaboration between communities and groups of the Surova folk feast, local municipalities and public institutions, which have proved their efficiency; they have been applied systematically, successfully, and without interruption by communities in the region for many decades;

R.4:   The nomination was prepared with the participation of communities, groups and cultural institutions concerned, and a considerable number of leaders of Survakari groups and secretaries of community centres provided their free, prior and informed consent to the nomination;

R.5:   The nominated element was included in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Bulgaria, compiled with a regular updating mechanism and with full participation of the communities concerned, as required by Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention.

  1. Inscribes Surova folk feast in Pernik region on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Encourages the State Party to pay particular attention to ensuring that safeguarding measures respond adequately to the increased visibility of the element and public attention that will follow the inscription on the Representative List, as well as to the processes of de-contextualization and processes of depopulation in the country that might impact the viability of the element in the future.

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