“Kukerstvo”: Bulgarian Traditions And Customs (6 Pics)
Bulgaria is a country with a unique heritage – majestic nature and rich culture. Its folk traditions and customs have been handed down from generation to generation, and hold the strength of the indomitable Bulgarian spirit.
Yet, in the dynamics of modern life, it often happens that we neglect and turn our backs on our history and cultural heritage. Music and dance, festivals and rituals – almost all Bulgarian rituals are slowly disappearing. And this country has such beautiful traditions!
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Masks of Kukeri
Uckerism is an ancient Bulgarian ritual for banishing evil spirits and demonic forces. The performers (Kukeri) dance their ritual dance dressed in attractive costumes and scary wooden masks. Their clothes are made of thread, wool, and cuttings of various fabrics.
The traditional Kuker dance is performed on holidays such as Christmas, Epiphany, Midsummer, and New Year, as well as at Bulgarian folklore festivals.
Kukeri with pipes and bells
The biggest festival is in the town of Pernik. Pernik – the headquarters of the International Festival of Masquerade Games in Bulgaria, or the Surva Festival, which since 2015 has been included in the list of tragedies as part of the Kulur heritage recognized by UNESCO.
The Kukeri celebrate the fact that winter is passing and the fertile spring is coming.
Kukkers chasing evil spirits
A similar ritual is celebrated in Cantabria – Spain. It is celebrated on the first Sunday of the new year. There are also Kukeri in Poland, Hungary, Croatia, and Slovakia, as well as in Austria, where they are called Percht.
The masks and costumes of the Kukeri represent various carnival figures – beasts or typical characters, always with masks on their heads, often with chains on their belts, and fur coats on the outside. The main actors in the Kuker troupe are the king, groom and bride, grandparents, and Kukers. They have a two-wheeled cart or wagon in which they carry the king; a plow with which they ritual plow the land; a krina filled with grain which the king sows; wooden swords, a mace, and a crozier; a puppet.
Kukeri at the festival in Pernik
Kukkers, dervishes and jumals are ready for the battle with Evil
Razlog Kuker Festival “Starcheva”. Kukeri chased evil forces in Razlog on Surva
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