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‘Tikverőzés’ Ritual in Moha – Masked Carnival Tradition (2011)
The Chicken-hitting tradition is connected to the last day of the Carnival season, also known as Shrove Tuesday. Young men in the village of Moha (in Fejér County, west-central Hungary) gather together, don traditional masquerades and proceed from house to house soliciting donations of food.
En route they sooty the faces of people they meet. The name ‘Tikverőzés’ refers to the tradition of bringing bounty to and enhancing fertility and prosperity for the families of the village by symbolically hitting with a stick the bottoms of chickens at the houses they visit to hasten their egg-laying.
Although some form of the tradition was indigenous to other parts of the country as well, it has persevered here in Moha thanks to the conscious safeguarding effort and transmission within the community. The symbolic rituals, masquerades and pranks of the tradition – some kept unbeknownst to outsiders – are passed on from one generation to the next. The local government as well as non-governmental interest groups also participate in the preservation and transmission of the tradition.
The end of winter carnival tradition is visited by inhabitants of neighbouring settlements and is covered by the media. It has remained a heritage element and most significant annual event of the people of Moha.