Sunday, 16 January 2011

Bulgarian "Halloween" or "Kukeri"

Dear, friends! I'd like to tell you about one of the most famous holiday in Bulgaria which is on January and February. This is Bulgarian "Halloween" or "Kukeri"/Mummers/:
Kukeri /Bulgarian: кукери/ is a traditional Bulgarian ritual to scare away evil spirits, with a costumed man performing the ritual. The costumes cover most of the body and include decorated wooden masks of animals (sometimes double-faced) and large bells attached to the belt. Around New Year and before Lent, the kukeri walk and dance through the village to scare evil spirits away with the costumes and the sound of the bells, as well as to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness to the village during the year.
The kukeri traditionally visit the peoples' houses at night so that "the sun would not catch them on the road." After going around the village they gather at the square to dance wildly and amuse the people. The ritual varies by region but its essence remains largely the same.
Kind regards, Reny


Betina Astride said...

And do they sing in the tradition? DOr do they have any kind of music during their ritual?
In the noth of Portugal, in the beginning of the new year there are some traditions that remind this.

Svetla Popova said...

Dear Reny, this is a great idea - to share this ritual. We in Shumen have no such custom. But I am watching with interest the kukeri in my town at the festival of fertility. Greetings from Shumen : Svetla

billabung said...

Of course, Betty! There are fantastic sounds of bells, pipes, wooden flutes and drums. Thanks so much, Svetle! The "mummer" tradition is mainly from Pernik region and the towns around it. Every year there's a festival of "Kukeri" in this area.
Kind regards, Reny

Raif VATANSEVER said...

Hi Reny,
Thank you very much for this interesting information.These regional events reminded me my childhood.I was very afraid as a child when a parents talk about them.Greetings from istanbul.