New Year’s masquerades – the Carnival and the Rusal Games are two folk calendar customs, preserving the living Bulgarian spirit of the population at the foot of Belasitsa. They are related to the so-called “pogani” or “dirty days”, starting from Christmas (24 December) and ending on Jordan (January 6).
Tradition shows that New Year’s masquerades are a custom typical of the local population, while the Rusalian games are brought by the large refugee waves that flooded Petrich and the region after 1913, and its bearers were the Bulgarians – settlers from Kukuško, Gevgelija and Enidje Vardarsko. Over time, the two customs have become interwoven and are now an inseparable part of the ritual system of the population of Petrich and the region. In the city, the Rusal games combine with the kuker procession and represent a single carnival holiday – Surva.