View Full Version : Bulgarian Kukeri in Pernik

January 29th, 2018, 11:53 AM
Kukeri (Bulgarian: кукери; singular: kuker, кукер) are elaborately costumed Bulgarian men who perform traditional rituals intended to scare away evil spirits. 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 villages to scare away evil spirits with their costumes and the sound of their bells. They are also believed to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness to the village during the year.

Some of the shots that I enjoyed myself a lot

The kukeri are heavy. After dancing, this lady took off her mask to catch a breather.

The heavy bells.. every Kuker has several bells attached to them. Sizes, material and sound (doh) are different per village.












February 22nd, 2018, 12:36 AM
Wow!!! Their regalia is outstanding. The beadwork is
beautiful. As a beader, nothing that elaborate though,
I know it can be painstaking work especially if you
make a mistake.. the masks are gorgeous and look
as you said, very heavy.... Is it annual? For harvest?
Celebration for what in particular? Lots of questions,
more details please....very cool.

February 28th, 2018, 10:38 AM
Great to hear you like it. I heard these relics, masks and clothing are passed on from generation to generation and these are generally very old.

The word ‘kuker’ comes from Latin (‘cuculla,’ meaning a ‘hood’) and it denotes a folkloric ritual monster, a man dressed in an elaborate suit of fur and ribbons, feathers and beads. These kukeri wear carved wooden masks with the faces of beasts and birds; hanging heavy copper or bronze bells around their waists as they dance and jump in arcane rituals intended to dispel the evil spirits which might otherwise bring loshotiya, or ill fortune, to a community.

These guys dance around with the bells around their waists, creating a chores of thousands of bells with all their own sound. It's horrible and beautiful at the same time. If you like, I made a few videos including a group of people dancing some traditional Bulgarian dance. It's fun to see and in some way completely different from my own culture, but in another way very much the same (We have carnaval in Februari, which might originate from the same tradition)

People who are not familiar with this tradition may assume that those wild dancers are the epitome of all bad things in life but this is not the case. On the contrary, kukeri fight evil. They use their bells and masks as “weapons” against the malevolent spirits lurking in the shadows and hiding in the damp basements and attics. The performers go to every house in town, scaring the wicked ghosts off and bringing good luck and happiness to the families.

February 28th, 2018, 07:32 PM
Yes, please post the videos esp if you recorded them.
I looked up kukeri and kuker and saw many puctures.
Honestly, because it’s not a habit, I didn’t think to go
to UTube for a video. Other indigenous peoples pass
their regala and ancient customers down the
generations hopefully to carry on and not be forgotten
as sometimes happens including language. Here though
it’s lookin’ strong as a tribute the ancient ways.
Thank again.

March 2nd, 2018, 11:38 AM
I haven't had time yet to upload my own video's, but I did see a video on National Geographic about this subject that I wanted to share

Facebook link

Nat. Geo website