New Year Survakari

survaSurvakari are masked dancers who wear coats made of goat skin or “tatters” and pointed hats around six feet high. They have large bells tied around their waists which clang loudly as they move. They carry wooden swords and a decorated cornel twig called a sourvachka. They “appear” in Breznik and Radomir Districts, Shopluk Region around the time of New Year’s Eve, travel in groups of seven or nine dancers from house to house and bring with them wishes for good health. They are followed by various characters such as “gods”, clowns, a physician, a bride, or animals. When two groups meet they often fight a “mock” battle. This custom is of Slav origin.