In pictures: Szekler rituals in the carnival season

Most of us are glad to see the end of winter, but Szeklers are keen to nudge it back just a little. Because first, to celebrate the cold season coming to a close, Szeklers from Gyergyószárhegy/Lazarea and traditionalist groups from eleven settlements in Hargita/Harghita County put on their traditional costumes and masks to scare the winter off.

One of the key elements of this year’s carnival was the tradition brought by the Szeklers of Kászonfeltíz: bikaütés or bull-hitting. This tradition symbolizes the chasing off of winter, and everyone has a role to play in this funny spectacle. The central figures are obviously the symbolic bull (a young man dressed in a bull mask), the young men leading the bull, and the sellers and buyers. The play is peppered with lots of laughter, folk music and dancing.

Big thanks go to our colleague István Vajk Szigeti, who was there to capture the greatest moments of this amusing saga presented throughout the Gyergyószárhegy village. Winter has now been chased away from Szeklerland, so get ready for the region’s sunniest days.

Author: István Fekete