[culture trip paris
The custom of “Mummers” comes from the ancient Thracian traditions. It is performed solely by men, especially young men. They wear fur costumes, put scary masks on and go around their village to chase away evil spirits. Mummers dance in the streets and perform ritual ploughing and sowing. The main point of the Mummer`s custom is to cleanse the village of demonic creatures and evil forces, in order for the village to have a fruitful year.
Each group has a main character called Mummer. Other characters in the group bear the names Bride, Groom, Grandmother, Grandfather, Priest, King, Gypsy and others.
Mummers’ clothes are made of goat`s fur or sheep`s wool. They wear masks, made out of the same material or paint their faces black. Each participant crafts his own mask and puts on bells which hang on his waist.
Most masks have a wooden structure with coloured threads, pieces of cloth, mirrors and sequins are glued to it. The mask must be as scary and ugly as traditionally is expected. Masks with a head shape of a ram, a goat and a bull are considered to be the most ancient type masks. The colours of the masks are of great symbolic importance.
Starosel – the ancient Thracian sanctuary
Starosel village is located in Southern Bulgaria near the town of Hisarya. In 2000 year professor Kitov, a Bulgarian archaeologist, found the largest Thracian royal complex there, which made the village world famous. The archaeological findings provide evidence of ancient settlements dating since 7000-8000 years ago.
The Thracian religious complex consists of six temples, four of which are unique. There are several royal burials as well. These findings date from the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 4th centuries BC. The big temple in Chetinyova Mound has an impressive wall of stone blocks, a parade staircase with a corridor and a religious site. The inner room is a large dome camera with semi-columns and colourful ornaments. In the northern part of the temple there is a rock tub for storage of wine, along with drinking vessels and strainers.
Religious ceremonies, associated with the cult of the Great Mother-Goddess, her son the Sun and Orpheus, were performed in the temple. For ancient people the sacrifice was of great importance. Sacrifices set the effectiveness of faith, give it expression and connect the visible with invisible things. The temple in Chetinyova Mound is situated in an important area with many rock sanctuaries and tombs.
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culture trip paris