mechkari

10

Masked processions of the Slavs

Kurenti in Slovenia
Dondolashi in Croatia
Bushari in Baranja
Koledari in Serbia
Kukeri in Bulgaria
Mechkari in Macedonia
Kolednicy in Poland
Kolyadniki in Ukraine
Okrutniki in Russia

Important part of the Slavic winter solstice celebration were masked processions. Younger men, clothed in animal fur, carrying horns and bells would march from village to village throughout the region, making an extraordinary amount of noise, fueled in part by the wine provided by the locals. Their primary task is to scare away evil spirits, and bring fertility to household. In this zoomorphic costumes they would represent ancestors, who came from otherworld to celebrate beginning of the new cycle with the living. In the time of winter solstice cult of ancestors and cult of vegetation are heavily intertwined.