The Kukeri Ritual: Bulgaria's Creepy Day of Monsters


Under skies darkened by thick clouds, they pour out into the streets, clanging with the sound of giant bells. Soon they will enter the houses of the villagers – by force if they should so choose. Their faces are a terrifying mix of snapping jaws, twisted horns, and large, unblinking eyes. They are clad in animal skins and furs, or other thick materials, and the bells whose clanking din fills the air dangle from their belts. These monsters do not speak, but rather walk and dance their way through ancient rites while armed with various weapons. And the rituals stretch back millennia to a time when pagan gods were worshiped and evil spirits were considered serious menace.