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BEARS WITH MASKS
in romania, in the areas close to moldova and ukraine, some people are celebrating new year eve using the old calendar, between the 13th and 14th of january. young adults from different villages gather together during the day and show off their traditional costumes, dances and songs. the costumes are representing several themes and animals: saints, the gypsies bands with a bride that steals babies, mythical characters, goats, bears and their whisperers. by the evening people are pretty tipsy which sets everyone free from any ‘bad spirit’; there is a continuous movement that syncs with the rhythm of the music. later, all groups retreat to their own village and they continue the night caroling in all the houses. locals are inviting them into their homes and serve a bit of alcohol and food. it is truly spectacular when you see eight big men costumed as bears and their ‘leader’ going in a small adobe house, starting to jump in a tight circle while scaring the spirits away.
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romania / 2017