Sunday, February 14, 2016

Buso festival 2016

Ok, so I have to write some intro to this post although recently I liked more to leave the text after the photos. But since without a little explanation no one will understand what these strange costumes are I decided to add the text here. These photos were taken at Buso festival in Mohacs, Hungary. It basically a carnival celebration in traditional folk costumes where the costumes, masks, bonfires, music and noise serve one purpose: to chase away the winter.

Similar costumes can be found also in other European cultures by the way. So how did I land at this event? It was a pretty random story. My Mom was organizing a school trip here and asked me if I wanted to join because there were still free places left. I have always been interested in cultures and folk traditions, once I almost quit my business studies because I wanted to study cultural anthropology.. I have already heard a lot about this event but never had the chance to visit so I decided to join out of curiosity. 

It was a big surprise to me how interesting this event actually was. I thought it will be some fake show for the tourists but this was not the case at all. This is what I like the most: that you could see that it was a real celebration with real participants. People inherit the clothes, masks and accessories within the family. They are everyday people who turn into busos (people wearing the costumes) for the six days of their festval and invite the visitors to celebrate the end of winter with them. 

These costumes are a unique view even for Hungarian people. This is the only place and only time during the year that you can see something like this. It is hard to describe the atmosphere but strangely it does not feel like something staged at all. May be because in its roots every folk tradition gets its inspiration from basic human instincts which are universal and genuine human characteristics.
Strangely even me who likes also modern design and urban things a lot I really got carried away by the atmosphere easily after a really short time. 

The program of the day (February 7th) was: busos crossed the Danube in their traditional boats (-good that there were modern elements like police speed boats because one of the boats had to be caught by the police since the river was too fast and it almost got carried away). Busos walks through the streets of the town. Burying winter in a coffin. The ferry was a modern element here again from which they threw the coffin symbolizing winter and all the bad things from last year to the Danube (YEE). Closing event on the main square of the town with bonfire, people dancing around the fire (this was a very powerful element too).

Below the photos:

Each mask is unique, hand-craved and hand-painted. Often they are inherited within the family.
You can also purchase masks at the craft fair during the festival. One bigger mask costs approx. 300 euros.

Busos waiting on the ferry for their event while tourists take the ferry to cross the Danube river. It symbolizes well what the event stands for: the meeting of present and a piece of the living past.

A buso in the crowd. The busos were often among normal visitors since many people had friends or family visiting the festival.

This was the ferry from which they threw the coffin symbolizing winter to the Danube. During the ceremony no tourists could enter the ferry and it was full of busos, girls in Sokci folk clothes and cameramen. They were dancing and singing on the ferry and at one point the captain of the ferry was also "spinning around " the ferry on the Danube. They opened the front gate of the ferry so as the ferry was spinning around you could see inside it and watch the busos dancing. It was a great visual effect.

People around the bonfire. Someone was so smart that she went up to a tower and made an amazing shot from the crowd and and the bonfire from above. It wasn`t me., May be next year!On the other hand we woke up at 5 because this place is at a totally diff place than where my hometown is in Hungary. So after running around the whole day- and before running back to the bus- my creative energies were not on top level any more at this point.

A group playing live music at the closing event on the main square. It fit the atmosphere really well. I think these events are good to remind people what they can be proud of from their own culture. It is never the politicians or changing economic conditions what define a culture.

A part of a mask showing in front of the bonfire through the crowd. The horns on the masks are related to shepherd and agricultural traditions and mythologies.