Male Masquerade Plays — Semantic and Typological Presentation Cover Image
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Мъжки маскарадни игри - семантика и типологично представяне
Male Masquerade Plays — Semantic and Typological Presentation

Author(s): Marianka Borisova
Subject(s): Customs / Folklore
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: This text illustrates the application of digital archiving and exposing of the male calendar masquerade plays. It outlines basic semantic values and typological characteristics of this specific still surviving ritual play phenomenon of the Bulgarian folk heritage. Male masquerade plays can be specified, performed in Western Bulgaria: they are played during the Dirty Days – from Ignazhden (St. Ignatius Day to Jesus Baptist Day (Epiphany) (20th December – 6th January). Their performers are called babudzheri, koledzhani, survaskari… These plays involve an element of the family ritual cycle – the “wedding”. The other category of ritual calendar masquerade plays are performed in Eastern Bulgaria, most often on Pure Monday, the first day of the Cheesefare Week (the week before the Great Lent) by kukeri, dzhamalari… They perform elements from the rural calendar – the first plough, sowing, harvesting… Required elements, which are common to the male masquerade games in Western and Eastern Bulgaria, are their ambivalence and apotropaic function. Their ambivalence is set in the names, the behavior, the clothes and masks of the performers. Young men marked with senility, men who give birth, men in female clothes, men who play the roles of old women – “a woman after the age of fertility”, but who play birth giving. Ambivalent is also the discrepancy between female clothes and zoomorphic mask. The masked players are allowed sexual gestures and jokes, unthinkable except on these festivities. The players are both grotesque and protecting from evil powers. The masked actors were perceived in traditional culture as mediators between the worlds being able to transform to positive the development of the world, of society. They have not been their own self. Thus depersonalization was forbidden. The contemporary performance of the holiday such as the festival, the emphasis is transferred towards the spirit of theatrical action and competition. The performers play in a group including diverse protagonists. Required elements in digital archiving of the masquerade are costumes, masks, attributes, actions, blessings, music and dance rhythm. The masquerade groups are effective and splendid spectacle, accompanied by the thunderous noise of the bells...

  • Issue Year: XXXVI/2010
  • Issue No: 3-4
  • Page Range: 88-91
  • Page Count: 4
  • Language: Bulgarian