PEOPLE AS BELLS - KUKERI / traditional Bulgarian ritual
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KUKERI, also known as survakari, chaushi, babugeri, stanichari or jamalari, are traditional Bulgarian carnival characters. They are men disguised… Read More
KUKERI, also known as survakari, chaushi, babugeri, stanichari or jamalari, are traditional Bulgarian carnival characters. They are men disguised as beasts or as popular characters from Bulgarian country life scenes wearing masks and shaggy coats, bells on their girdles. These macabre creatures dance on the streets to frighten the evil forces, to banish the winter cold and perform rituals for rich harvest and good health. Kukeri`s games with their magical dances, scary masks and bells` peal drive to scare and chase away forever the evil spirits and fates and to bring along a rich crop. Colors of the costumes and masks are of great significance. The red color dominates as a symbol of the fecundity, revival nature, the sun and the fire. The black color personifies Mother Earth and the white color is the symbol of the water and the light. Read Less
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People as Bells

Kukeri [ Bulgarian: кукери ; singular : кукер,kuker ]  is a traditional Bulgarian ritual to scare away evil spirits, with a costumed man performing the ritual. 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.

The silence was torn
Bells were ringing – many bells: of copper, silver, and gold
Bells jubilant, jolly, and singing
The earth of all the bells…
The world of all the bells
The bells of the stars…

Oh, these bells are vast!
Thousands of bells: of copper, silver, and gold - and their sacred song reaches the peaks of the Balkan mountain
.

                                                                                                                                Nikolay Raynov - “A Cross” March 1939
All photos are from my exhibition in 2008 - "PEOPLE AS BELLS - 11 photographs from Ivo Christov " - © 2008