In short, (try to say the rest in one breath!) Kukeri Festivals date back to the ancient Thracians and are wild celebrations where young men dressed in animal skins with bells tied around their waists and wearing wooden masks with tall, feathery headdresses dance around to scare away evil spirits and promote health, fertility, etc. for the coming year. Phew! You may now breathe. That's a very quick summation. I found a really interesting explanation of it all at Cultural Realms (click it to go there) -- definitely worth a peek if your curiosity's been tickled by this at all.
This get-up has the bonus of always providing the wearer with a soft place to sit.Look at these fellas! I liked them. A bear and some sort of weird black horned animal... And Bran. I like him a LOT. There was a Grim Reaper guy, too, skulking somewhat spookily through the crowd, but hey, guess he fits in with the whole circle of life thing.
Some of the headresses had more than feathers on them. Some had (mostly) whole animals. This is a bird, obviously, and there were foxes, too. Hmmm...wait... I can't tell if this is a real bird, or a bird made out of random feathers and stuff. There were definitely real birds on a couple of the headdresses... but I'm not sure about this one. But you get the picture. From this picture, haha...ha.
My favorite was this poor goat... looks like he's just getting a boost up on his buddy's shoulders, but nope. That guy's carting a goat carcass around on his head.
We ate sausages and cole slaw-esque stuff. Yummm. Not bratwursts, but still, yum... We shared a table with two robust Bulgarian fellows, and after they ditched a lady wearing a bright red wig took their place. The wall behind us says, "Bulgaria!" in.... yep, Bulgarian.
Maeve talking to this mask on display: "Come on, big mouse thing... get up! You're okay! ...aren't you? AREN'T you??"
See, there's a little fox on the top of this display mask. There was a huge one dangling from one of the headdresses. A beautiful gray fox. Sigh. At that particular moment, though, the cotton candy was much more interesting than a mask that normally fascinates Bran any time we're in the museum gift shop downtown. There he's always clambering for a closer look, and would LOVE to get as close as he is in the above pic. Ah, well. The power of sugar.
And that's a lot of sugar. We could've hidden Maeve in one of those suckers. Obviously we needed two of them... I mean, there's no way one would have been enough...yeah. After about six bites each Bran and Nuala were feeling woozy and Z & I were forced to take over. Hey, you do what you gotta do for your kids. Sometimes it's tough.