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Busó festivities at Mohács: masked-end of winter carneval custom (2008)
The busó [boosho] festivities at Mohács are an end-of-winter custom performed by persons in special masks as a ritual aiming to expel winter. It beings on the Thursday of Carnival week and goes on till Pancake Tuesday. www.mohacsibusojaras.hu
The main features are the busós – frightening-looking figures wearing wooden masks and big woolly cloaks. This line of events, now a festival of national renown, includes a parade accompanied by dance and music attracting the entire population of the city, the busó groups, the craftsmen/women who created the masks and other accessories as well as the musicians and dancers.
Organised events are a no lesser part of the process of the busó festivities than the gathering of the busós, such as the burning of a coffin which symbolises winter, the initiation of new busós, folk dance shows, handicraft fairs and exhibitions, as well as spontaneous actions and manifestations such as cross-gender games, ritual elements of fertility magic and scaring rituals.
Within the city, busós conglomerate into various groups which function as active communities throughout the year and maintain close personal relationships in everyday life. All of this generates a powerful sense of identity within the community which is confirmed by continued preparation, maintenance of the masks, clothes and accessories.