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Festmaskerade bulgarians scare away the evil spirits
"Festmaskerade bulgarians scare away the evil spirits"

"Thousands of people in bold and colorful costumes have been collected in the Bulgarian Pernik in a festival that aims to drive the evil spirits on the run."

"Survakarnivalen are held annually as an early welcoming of spring. In years 7 500 so-called kukeri – traditional Bulgarian mimartister – a pilgrimage from nine different countries for the weekend's festivities."

"They have home-made costumes and large masks with animal features, often with horns and feathers, and wearing large bells around their waists. Then, they invite up to a big and noisy dance."

"General, it is believed that the tradition (with the masks) is derived from the thracian Dionysus, and similar rituals can be found in different parts of the balkan peninsula," says Ivan Boyadzjiev, one of the more senior kukeri, which is participating for the 14th time in the order."

"In the historic kingdom of Thrace, which included large parts of today's Bulgaria several hundred years before Christ, they worshipped the Greek god Dionysus."

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