Meet the Kukeri. XXll International Festival of the Masquerade Games Сурва 2013, Pernik, Bulgaria.
This is an old Bulgarian tradition, based on a pagan ritual, performed to scare and chase the devils away. That’s why the masks are the main components and usually represent animals like rams, goats or bulls (it probably has something to do with the idea of reincarnation). Everything is replete with symbols: white stands for water and light; red for fire and sun, etc. Also, the creation of one’s costume/mask is as much a part of the ritual as the performance. The masked men don’t speak, but rather walk and dance in a special step. So the impact gets even bigger by the sound of the bronze bells that hang on them.
Kyrgyz herders with their smartphones. They are acquired by bartering and are charged using solar panels. Though useless for communication - cellular service does not reach the isolated plateau - the phones are used to play music and take photos. Photograph by Matthieu Paley.