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Chasing Away Evil spirits – Kukeri In Bulgaria

 When we talk about Bulgaria sometimes we mention interesting folklore traditions, such as the Kukeri Festival. 

Kukeri is a centuries-old tradition intended to chase evil spirits away. Men and boys dress up in furs and animal skins, put scary masks on their faces, and jump with huge bells tied around their waists. It is believed that on that way KuKeri have to run away monsters from the people. 

 In some regions of the country, the Kukeri groups act out mini-plays. Every member of the group is assigned a specific role in a story – the king, the granny, the horse, the bear, etc. Symbolically, the Kukeri actors often perform a wedding, sowing, harvesting, and other rituals meant to preserve the natural order.

In recent years, women and young girls have started to take part in the ritual as well. The female roles were always played by men in the past.

As the tradition requires, every member of the Kukeri group must have a costume of his or her own. A costume is either inherited or sewn by its owner. The same goes for the bells, usually handed down over the generations. Some of the bells weigh no less than 220 lbs (100 kg). The masks are usually constructed from wood and covered in colorful yarn threads, fur, animal teeth, beads, and horns.

According to History, every village has got its own Kukeri style. all of them are different and diverse. That makes those traditions more astonishing. 

 The village Glushnik near Sliven was the location of the Kukeri festival last week.    Local Kukeri villagers made a small ceremony from ancient traditions. The monsters went door to door and performed their magical dances in front of their hosts.  

At night they gathered at the center of the village and made a final ceremony. 

Here is our Photo-journalism from Kukeri Festival at Glushnik


Tamar Chkhikvadze

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