In the smallest basin of the Eastern Carpathians, there lies the historic region of Kászon Seat. Surrounded by mountain peaks 1,100 to 1,200 meters high, the Szekler population has preserved traditions in their purest form. One of the oldest of these is related to the end of the Carnival season (“farsangtemetés” in Hungarian), a period characterized by joyful events and parties. In the old days, the youngsters of the settlements had fun in the long winter evenings by hiding behind masks, scaring their friends and/or girls and reciting poems.
Although some elements of the festival traditions have vanished through the years, for the Szekler population located in the Kászon basin, the Carnival season means the fun-filled, joyful bull-hitting ceremony, a traditional and symbolic event that marks the end of winter.
At the center of the event is the “funeral” of the bull-dummy. Every year, one of the young boys of the settlement assumes the main role, wearing a bull costume made of straw—the bull symbolizes winter. Since the scope of the event is to provoke laughter among the participants, the whole series of actions has one single purpose: fun.
Our photographer Vajk István Szigeti participated this year in the famous bull-hitting in Kászon and captured the stunning moments of this Szekler tradition of the Carnival season on camera. Enjoy!