The Surva International Festival Of The Masquerade Games is the largest traditional folklore event across the whole of the Balkan Peninsula.

Bulgaria
Performing 'Mummers' line up ahead of the annual Surva International Festival of the Masquerade Games Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Taking place over two days (28-29 January) in Pernik, Bulgaria, the festival sees roughly 6,000 people from every folklore region of the country attend. The event sees participants dress as masked Kukers (mummers), Survakari dancers parade through the city's streets. Pagan dancers from across the wider regions also join the parade.

The traditional Kuker costume is worn with the intention of scaring off evil spirits and covers most of the body and includes decorated wooden masks of animals (sometimes double-faced) and large bells attached to the belt. The Kukers are also believed to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness to the village during the year. The Kukeri tradition is included in Unesco's list of protected non-material cultural heritage. In this gallery, IBTimesUK presents some of the best photos from the event:

Bulgaria
Kukeri dolls are sold on a stand Dan Kitwood/Getty Images