Kukeri is a plural for kuker which means a mummer. Mummer’s games are traditional Bulgarian rituals for fertility, regeneration and awakening of the earth, performed by unmarried men around New Year and before Lent. The kukeri reinforce the connection between the people and the land. Through their dance and stumping moves, they chase away the old, the cold and evil, and clear the path for regeneration, fertility and the warmth brought by the spring.
Traditionally, the kukeri wear costumes and scary masks made from animal furs and skins, and heavy bells on the belt to produce a loud noise. The Kukeri Parade at the Northwest Folklife Festival is performed by men from the Bulgarian community in Seattle.
Check out the 2013 Northwest Folklife Festival parade in the video below!