Chasing Evil Spirits - Kukeri Festival

Posted 19 November 2019

THE TRADITION

Kukeri is a traditional Bulgarian winter ritual of Thracian origins, but similar ritual can also be found in Romania,Serbia,Italy and Spain.  The ritual is performed between Christmas and Lent by masqueraded men who walk around and dance to scare away the evil spirits, as well as to provide good harvest, health, fertility, and happiness. According to the tradition the kukeri visit people's houses at night so that "the sun would not catch them on the road." After going around the village, the kukerigather at the square to dance and amuse people. The symbolic meaning of the winter and pre-spring rituals performed by single men is related to the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one and to the upcoming awakening of nature for new life.

THE COSTUMES

Their costumes cover most of the body and include decorated wooden masks of animals and large bells attached to the belt. The mask, according to folklore beliefs, is a protection from the harmful influence of impure powers. It represents a head of a peculiar creature with a scary face. Different masks could have gaping jaws, horns, tails, or snapping beaks. The elaborate decoration made of feathers is supported on a wooden frame.

KUKERI FESTIVALS in 2020

25.01.2020 - XVII Masquerade Festival, Breznik

05.01.2020 - XII Kukeri Festival - Blagoevgrad

01-02.01.2020 - IX International Kukeri Festival “Starchevata”, Razlog

24-26.01.2020 - XXIX International Festival of the Masquarade Games “Surva”, Pernik

27.02-01.03.2020 - XXI International Masquarade Festival “Kukerlandia”, Yambol

29.02.2020 - Kukeri Festival “Strachovden”, Karlovo

March 2020 - XXII Festival of Masquarade Games, Stara Zagora