The unknown Kukeri carnival You have probably heard of the carnivals of Rio or Venice. If you do some research, you will undoubtedly encounter theories, attributing the origin of the carnival tradition to Roman and Greek pagan traditions. Some of them will mention a connection to Bacchus/Dionysus, a Thracian and Greek god of wine. However, what you may not know is that we also have a carnival of our own. It is dedicated to the exact same deity. We call it Kukeri and it’s one of the most ancient pagan traditions we still follow to date. When is the Kukeri carnival happening? Every year in January and February (depending on the region) in towns and villages around the country Bulgarians and foreign guests gather to enjoy this special kind of festival. The kukeri, traditionally men only, are the protagonists in this ancient mystery. They form a procession through the streets and perform ritual dances dressed in their handmade costumes. The scarier the outfit, the better, as the goal of the whole rite is to chase away the evil spirits […]
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