Kukeri "A Traditional Pagan Folkloric Festival in Bulgaria", Stara Zagora - March.2018
Kukeri, according to an ancient tradition from ancient Thracians in the days of spring in Bulgaria, is a person dressed in an effort to drive away from the evil spirits of winter with masks and bells. At the festivities, the kukers believe that they will scare the winter while playing their heavy dance in the village and town square with the sound and the noise of the bells, wearing the bells on their belts, in their terrible monster costumes, and they think they are chasing evil spirits and inviting spring and good. Their costumes are sometimes covered with wood, sometimes animal skin and decorated with woolen thread and paper, and are very heavy. The costumes cover most of the body and include decorated wooden masks of animals (sometimes double-faced) and large bells attached to the belt. During the ritual, various physiological acts are interpreted, including the sexual act, as a symbol of the god's sacred marriage, while the symbolical wife, appearing pregnant, mimes the pains of giving birth. Kukeri is an elaborately costumed man who performs traditional rituals intended to scare away evil spirits. Around New Year and before Lent, the kukeri walk and dance through villages to scare away evil spirits with their costumes and the sound of their bells. They are also believed to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness to the village during the year.