Stranger Than Fiction: Kukeri

The Balkans is home to an ancient pagan tradition where magic and mystery still have a sacred place in the cosmic order. The Kukeri festival has had a stronghold over Bulgarian cultural life since the fifth century, surviving the Ottomans, Christendom and communist rule. Every winter, hundreds of terrifying figures prowl snow-capped forests and village centers in search of evil spirits to dispel from their communities. Oversized bells, gnarled horns, wooden staffs and fantastical masks are just some of the familiar components of a ‘kuker’s’ costume…

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