сряда, 1 февруари 2012 г.

Kukeri Festival "Surva" 2012

   BOOM BAM ...Now is the time to banish evil spirits and pray for good, health and fruitful year.
   I am telling you about  bulgarian Kukeri masquerade festival in Pernik sity called "Surva" . This is one of the most colorful and interesting events in my country.
     Masquerade rituals come from old pagan times and are still alive in the Bulgarian folklore tradition.
Bulgarian masquerade games are mainly interwoven in the contexts of the holidays between Christmas and Easter. In different regions of Bulgaria men put on masks around New Year, during the twelve days of Christmas (Christmas till Epiphany), on Sirni Zagovezni (the Sunday before Lent), and on Todorova Nedelia (the Sunday before the start of the Easter Fast).
In Western Bulgaria, the people who perform these rituals around New Year are known as Survakari while those who participate in the pre-spring masquerade games are referred to as Kukeri.
The symbolic meaning of the winter and pre-spring rituals performed by single men is related to the end of the old year and the advent of the new and to the upcoming awakening of nature for new life. These rituals represent the wish for a rich harvest, health and fertility for humans and farm animals. They are intended to chase away the evil spirits and prepare people for a new beginning. 

    Kukeri Ritual Games 
In ancient times the old Thracians held the Kukeri  Ritual Games in honour of god Dionysus - the especially known as a god of wine and ecstasy. Even today these games are also known as the Dionysus’ games. Among the Kukeri dancers’ are many characters, including Dionysus and his satyrs as well as others from deep history such as the  tsar, harachari, plyuvkachi, startzi, and pesyatzi.
   The masked participants are called kukeri, kukove, survakari, startsi, babugeri, dzhamailari, kamilari, dividjii...

                                                                    Bear Ritual Dance

                                                                        The Masks

   In Bulgarian folklore, the mask is believed to protect its wearer against powers of impure nature. This is the most probable explanation why the masks look like fearful creatures with huge jaws and awesome teeth, with horns and tails, with snapping beaks and grisly bodies.

The sound of the bells hanging from the belts of the participants enhances their effect.

   Sometimes the mask is not that complicated. Participants from some regions use charcoal to paint their faces black and sheep’s wool to make moustaches and beards.
   Bulgarian ceremonial masks are a valuable source of information for the various folklore regions in the country. It is typical for the masks worn in the region of Pernik that they are made of sheep and goat furs, wings and feathers, horns, corn leaves and hemp. Masks from other regions are usually made of cloth, wool, and parched plants. They are often decorated with beads and paper flowers.
  All masks are made by the persons who wear them or with the help of craftsmen known throughout the village for their skill. It is a long and complicated process. Shrouded in mystery, it is almost a ritual in its own right.

   The group consists of various different characters. Traditionally all parts are played by men dressed in carnival costumes. More often than not, they carry symbolic objects with which they perform their rituals.

                                        Old people characters - grandmother and grandfather

                                                                  Scary old woman

 Since the days of the Bulgarian Cultural Revival characters from the neo folklore culture have started to appear in the rituals. Significant political changes and social issues still produce parodies of representatives of different social classes. Nowadays the minimum requirement for participation is having the willingness to take part, therefore it is not uncommon to see toddlers walking side by side with 70-year carnival veterans and women and young girls who feel part of the tradition put on masks and costumes and go out with the rest of the bunch.

This little baby was very seriosly all the time...probably because it was very cold.

                                                                   The Dance
The dance of the masked men is a mystic unity of rhythm, sound, and color. They move in a special step. Wearing impressive masks and unique costumes they fill the air of the villages with the sounds of hundreds of bells and whispered blessings wishes for prosperity.

...other characters...

...more masks...

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