From the pen of Turlough Ó Maoláin ...

The Chronicles of Bulgaria

Before The Year Is Gone

31/12/2021

Veiled in darkness

We feel you, smell you

Do not see your demonic form

Not knowing

Are you serpent, hound or fish?

Such evil there

In your malevolent glare

Pilfering bread, salt meat and oats

Our larders left bare

Our lives sucked away like

The milk you filch in nocturnal stealth

From the paps of our goats

Take your fire, your floods and storms

Your rabid jackals, unearthly forms

Wrap the dread you brought

In your eerie shawl and crawl

Back to your cave, your underworld

Leave our cradles to swing

Our women to sing

Our village to ring with the sound

Of childhood joy, of animal bells

Of ancient Thracian verse

And the roaring curse of the Kuker

As he casts you down

To the foulest pit where you belong

Be gone before the year is gone

To Hades’ infernal realm

 

The Kukeri are coming!

 

Note of explanation: Around New Year and before Lent, the Kukeri walk and dance through villages to scare away evil spirits with their elaborate costumes and the sound of multiple large bells attached to their belts. They are also believed to provide a good harvest, health, and happiness to the village during the year. The Kukeri tradition has been practiced since Thracian times, predominantly in Bulgaria but also in other Balkan countries.

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