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Kukeri by Aron Klein

An Ancient Pagan Ritual in Bulgaria

Kukeri by Aron Klein

design & fashion visual culture

There’s something otherworldly in these snowy pictures. For the “Kukeri” series, photographer Aron Klein took to Bulgaria’s mountains to capture the annual heritage practices of the same name that take place at the end of January as part of an ancient Pagan practice that has existed for thousands of years. The dancers don wooden masks and heavy iron bells, stirring a rousing choir of bangs and crashes as they dance through the snow.

“The otherworldly rituals are intended to dispel the evil spirits of winter, which might otherwise bring ill fortune of “Ioshotiya” to the community,” Klein told us. He traveled through rural villages in the bitter cold to further familiarize himself with the particular set of cultural practices that continue to stand the test of time. Now, he shares what he found.

Explore the full series below, or browse our book Traditional Couture for a look at the people across Germany who continue the rich traditions of heritage costuming.

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