A Pagan's Blog

A Pagan's Blog


Surva: a Balkan Pagan New Year’s celebration

posted by Gus diZerega

Surva is an ancient Balkan ritual used to revive the earth on the New Year.  It’s a wonderful community celebration, and the communities are big.  Here is an example of a modern day Pagan survival in good health in Europe. It apparently occurs all over Bulgaria. Here is another clip with animal costumes included.

The friend who told me about this celebration pointed out that unlike the old days, women are also dancing now, and it is obvious that this is popular with young people.
It goes on day and night.
The bells are to frighten away bad spirits. Long ago Christian authorities banned it, and the harvest suffered.  Now, even though very few if any Bulgarians would call themselves Pagans, it is celebrated all over the country despite what the churchmen prefer.  It has fascinating resemblances to the parade in Wickerman.


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Franklin Evans

posted December 29, 2010 at 8:44 am


Thanks for this post, Gus. It inspires me to dig out an outline from under the pile to better research Pagan traditions from the Balkans.
For anyone interested in a more accessible taste, there are numerous social folk dance groups all over the US (and in many other countries) where one can learn Balkan folk dances and some of the background of those cultures. The dance and music traditions — albeit fully engaged in modern culture as well — are literally rooted in the land and soil of the people.



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