busójárás festival Mohács Hungary
Photo: Alpár Kató – Daily News Hungary

These are the last days of winter. More than 1200 busós, wearing terrifying wooden masks and woolly cloaks, are going to scare away winter in Mohács, in the small town, situated at the right side of river Danube, in the south part of Hungary. Scaring off winter is based on a Šokci tradition. This is called “Busójárás”, pecsma.hu summarizes.

[box type=”info”] Šokci people are an ethnographic group of South Slavs. In Croatia, they are completely assimilated, but in Serbia, they are considered as a separate ethnic group. They live along the Danube and Sava rivers. They settled in the 18th century in Mohács, and most of them live in Baranya County. 10% of the inhabitants of the town have Šokci ancestors. [/box]
The reason of why the “Busójárás” festival takes place in Mohács has two explanations, pecsma.hu notes. According to the legend, it was the Šokci people who stopped the Turkish rule lasting for 150 years in Hungary. Being fed up with the bondage, they put on frightening wooden masks, and, at night, they invaded the streets making loud and scary noises, and scared away the Turkish army. The second explanation is related to the Šokci people, according to which it was a Croatian Catholic group that brought this tradition to Hungary. The historic resources also support the second version: Mohács had been liberated from the Turkish in 1687, and the settlement of the Šokci started only ten years after the Turkish were driven away from Hungary.

Photo: Daily News Hungary

According to the tradition, busós can do anything providing they wear the masks made of willow-wood. The masks have the same decoration every year; to keep them in good condition, their owners spread them with animal blood – this is how they keep their darker colour. The customs of busós include bells, a pair of traditional Hungarian canvas trousers with wide legs, leather sandals and knitted tights.

In Mohács, almost every male member of the families dresses for busó. As for women, they usually put on national dress, and they wear women’s masks. Besides preserving the tradition, it is also a great family programme. After the march of busós, a casket representing winter is put on fire. This is how the winter is “buried”.

Photo: Daily News Hungary

And here is the programme. More than eighty of them are awaiting visitors in Mohács. Pecsma.hu informs that although scaring off winter starts on Thursday, “busójárás”, the march of busós, the most spectacular performance takes place on Sunday at 2 p.m. At 6 p.m., the bonfire is lighted under the casket, and the winter is said goodbye. Those who would get hungry during burying winter can visit Jókai Street where they are served with various traditional dishes. Find details about the programmes here.

Photos: Daily News Hungary

ce: bm

Source: pecsma.hu, mohacsibusojaras.hu

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