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Kukeri (Bulgarian: кукери; singular: kuker, кукер) is a traditional Bulgarian ritual to scare away evil spirits, with costumed men performing the ritual. Closely related traditions are found throughout the Balkans and Greece (including Romania and the Pontus). The costumes cover most of the body and include decorated wooden masks of animals (sometimes double-faced) and large bells attached to the belt. Around New Year and before Lent, the kukeri walk and dance through the village to scare evil spirits away with the costumes and the sound of the bells, as well as to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness to the village during the year.
The kukeri traditionally visit the peoples' houses at night so that "the sun would not catch them on the road." After going around the village they gather at the square to dance wildly and amuse the people.
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