Chasing Away Evil Spirits in Bulgaria

Each year, people across Bulgaria gather in Blagoevgrad to partake in the annual Kukeri Festival. Draped in elaborate costumes made from long goat hair, participants dance away the evil through a procession involving the ringing of bells. Dancers wear carved wooden masks that depict the faces of beasts and jump in a centuries-old ritual intended to drive away evil spirits. Desislava Ilieva started attending festivals as a child and now continues to uphold her family’s tradition by wearing costumes handmade by her father.

About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at
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5 Responses to Chasing Away Evil Spirits in Bulgaria

  1. This reminds me of the customs in the mountains, the Alps. They did similar things during the nights between 24 December and 5 or 6 January, the magic nights.

    Does is not also remind a bit of the Morris dancers? Although that is later in the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • agogo22 says:

      The percussion and dance? I think these traditions are all to do with fertility, so there’s probably convergent cultural evolution going on…
      Get well soon by the way (the family cold)!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Bulgarians and the people in the Apls have the same purpose for their dances. I guess the Morris dancers have a different one …

        Thanks, I am nearly fully fit for fight. My husband is sagging a bit behind, but he also started later than me.


      • agogo22 says:

        I’d recommend a tea made from honey, thyme, lemon and chopped fresh ginger (add hot water, the proportions of each of the other ingredients varying according to how much you like them), although it’s better you try to nullify the cold in it’s early stages. This recipe from acquaintances who run an outdoor fruit and veg stall.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is more or less what we have been treating ourselves with, just without the thyme. Lots of hot lemon and ginger with honey … thanks for caring! 🙂
        Here they say about the common cold: Without doctor it takes 14 days, with doctor it takes two weeks … 😉 … but I am actually feeling much better the last three days already, it is getting boring … I want to start playing music with my husband again. He still can’t sing, the poor man.

        Liked by 1 person

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