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Carneval Buscho (2009)

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There are two stories circulating around about the origin of the Hungarian traditional ’Busójárás’. According to a legend when the cruel Turks chased the inhabitants of the small town of Mohács away, they found refuge on the Mohácsi Island, on the other side of the Danube.buso2_250x250
One day an old man arrived on the Island, who foretold that the Turks would flee away, so the sufferring of the inhabitants would end soon. This prophecy made the people of Mohács so enthusiastic that on a stormy night they put on scary masks, armed themselves with wooden weapons and rattles, crossed the Danube, and made such a big noise that the invaders were scared away.
According to the other most likely version, the people of Mohács dressed up in scary costumes to scare the winter away. Presumably, the sokác inhabitants of Mohács, who originate from the Balkans, brought this tradition along with themselves.
Just like in the old days the ’Busojaras’ lasts for six days, from the last Thursday of the winter carnival till shrove Tuesday, but the event itself has changed a lot since then. Many elements have disappeared through time, but those that remain became more spectacular. The first three days of the festival , like back then, are for the children, who dress up in shabby cloths and walk through the town mocking. The adults join the parade on Sunday to send off the winter and welcome the spring with rip-roaring till the midnight of Tuesday.
Today the procession and celebration on Sunday is held in a greater esteem, than it was back then. This day is known as the ’Busojaras’ for the laymen and many TV channels cover the event every year. The program of the day starts with crossing the River Danube, some ’busos’ arrive from the Mohacsi Island with boats, to join the rest of the crowd at the Kolo Square, that got its name from the music of the sokac people.
What makes a ’buso’ a ’buso’? The traditional costume for a buso consists of an inside out fur coat, colourful women’s tights on trousers stuffed with straw, boots and cowbells usually worn on belts. But the most important accessories are the animal-blood painted masks craved out of willow with sheep skin hoods. Many busos arrive on horseback or on special vehicles, such as ’wains’ or devil’s wheels. When everybody, including ten thousand tourists, has gathered, they walk to the main square of the town, where the festival really begins. In the next few hours the noisy crowd walks across the town scaring and mocking both adults and kids all the way along. They only return to the main square at dawn, where they celebrate with singing and dancing around a big bonfire. Lighting the bonfire only means the end of Sunday’s program, but the ’Busojaras’ and the festival still continue.
On Tuesday, when all the tourists have left, the celebration carries on. The people of Mohács send off the cold weather with another big bonfire and burning a coffin that represents winter.
For a real picture of this vivid custom you should experience it yourselves, walking the streets of Mohács with the noisy crowd, dancing around the bonfire till dawn and getting scared by a real buso!