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 GamesDan 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
Performers make their way to the town squareDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
Performing 'Mummers' stand in a lineDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
Performing 'Mummers' line upDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
Performers bang their bells togetherDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
A member of a Kukeri group arrives on a horseDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
A Kukeri group waits to enter the town square to be judgedDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
A Kukeri group enters the town square to be judgedDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
A member of a Kukeri group takes the weight off his back as he waits to enter the town squareDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
A performer takes a breakDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
Young performers rest on the ground Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
A young boy from a Kukeri group waits to performDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
A masked performer waits to performDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
Kukeri dolls are sold on a standDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
A young boy has his costume preparedDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
Performers from a Kukeri group are dressedDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
Friends and members of a Kukeri group help each other dressDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
The detail of a head dressDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
Performing 'Mummers' dress ahead of the start of the second and final day of the annual Surva International Festival of the Masquerade GamesDan Kitwood/Getty Images
Bulgaria
A Kukeri performer checks the fit on his costume by shaking it aroundDan Kitwood/Getty Images