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A Kukeri? What is That?

2013 Portland Christmas Revels

If you are from that Eastern European neck of the woods you might likely know but for the uninitiated…

kukeri-festival9

If that image is not ringing a bell, Wikipedia says:

Kukeri is a traditional Bulgarian ritual to scare away evil spirits, with costumed men performing the ritual. Closely related traditions are found throughout the Balkans and Greece (including Romania and the Pontus). 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.

Never knew they existed? Most folks likely will not unless they grew up or visited that part of the…

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