Sunday, April 24, 2011

Who Is A Busho?

Mohacs is a town 190 km south of Budapest, Hungary with a very unique tradition. As the end of winter approaches local residents organised an intriguing carnival called Busho. But what is Busho?

Back at the beginning of 1500s the Ottoman army of the Turks attacked Hungary. While the Turkish managed to occupy the land, the brutal Ottoman Empire started there long rule over the Hungarians. During the occupation the local people intended to get back  their lost homes stolen by the Turks. Hungarian peasants dressed up in terrifying furs and put on frightful masques. They  thought this act would scare the Turks to death causing many to flee the Hungarian basin. They considered that they were dreadful devils or Bushos as they refer to themselves. In spite of all efforts they made, Hungary was occupied for about 150  years. Towards the end of winter The 'Bushos' recall this tradition every year for over 400 years. With the help of the festival they say farewell to winter.

The residents wear sheepskin and unique carved wooden mask with one sheep fleece on the sides and on the back with a hideous face. The festival is variety of activities which include a children’s costume contest, a exhibit of the art of mask carvers and other craftspeople. More than 500 bushos in rowboats masked Busho men cross the River Danube before marching through  the streets of Mohacs alongside horse-drawn or motorized fantasy vehicles. A future generation of the bushos is  guaranteed by the presence of the little bushos who participate at the event. Costumed children appear in the adult groups  and soon learn their role following the models provided by the adults. While scaring around the city a coffin is released into the cold water of the Danube to bury the winter along with the loss of Hungarian independence dating back to the 1500s. In the evening a big straw figure which symbolises the end the season is ending on a great bonfire.

In September 2009, Busho Carnival became UNESCO world cultural heritage occasion.

Read more intriguing stories in our SiĆ³fok hotel blog