Surva in the Neighboring Villages – the Village of Razhavets

(memories of Mr. Malin Rangelov, born in 1918)

„On the evening of January 13th , before Vasil’s Day, the group sets off to some of the neighbor villages. For example, we, the people from Rajdavets village, were usually going to Dolna Sekirna. We set off and follow a strict order. First in the group is the priest, then follow the bear and the bear-ward, the gypsies, the bride and the brother-in-law are coming next, then the flag-bearer and the guards, and the leader – Bolyukbashia and the biggest group with the masked people come last.  In all villages this order must be kept. We also keep it but the gypsies, for instance, go around the hamlets, teasing with the people, pulling them, stealing, laughing, having fun… When we go around our village, we enter every yard. The bride enters also the house. All the group can enter, as well. Some of the hosts arranges the table and invites all of us, the whole group. The masked people remove their masks, leave them in the yard and come in the room. The leader of the group – the Bolyukbashia, blesses the hosts, by saying:  „Surva New Year! Surva New Year!“ The bride kisses their hands, the gypsies bathe the baby, the priest christens it, sprinkles water for health, the little gypsies gather the gifts in bags, cauldrons or whatever and a big revelry sets in. After that the leader – the Bolyukbashia, gives a sign and we all stand up, put the masks on and go on to the next yard, the next house. We do not come in every house. In most of the cases we play only in the yards, we don’t remove the masks, that’s why the young ladies don’t know who is standing behind the mask and they are curious to understand. On that day we play a definite folk dance – “horo”, called: “at one dance”. The Boliyubashia leads the dance, then the bride, the flag-bearer and all the people in the village are following. When we pass by a house where somebody has recently died, we don’t enter the house, neither do we enter the yard. When the hosts hear us passing by, they go out and give gifts to the group but we do not enter.”