Bulgarians banish evil spirits in ancient festival

STORY: The two-day festival, known as "Surva" in the village of Kosharevo, is held every January and is a mixture of Christian and pagan rituals that can be traced back to Thracian times.

The dancers are known as survakars or kukers (mummers) and some wear hand-made wooden masks decorated with feathers, which can be up to two meters high.

The loud clanging of the bells on their belts is believed to ward off evil and diseases.

On Friday night, at the start of the festival, survakars danced around a bonfire with flaming torches and paraded for people who came to watch.