The annual ritual of Busójárás dates to hundreds of years, celebrating the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The UNESCO-recognized event lasts circa one week in the small town of Mohács, located in southern Hungary, near the city of Pécs. It has international relations.
The Busójárás connects Hungary with Europe. In many parts of our region – from Anatolia to the Iberian Peninsula – there are masked winter folk customs and carnival parades that are very like the Mohács folk customs.
- Many other costumed teams from Serbia and Poland also take part in the fun in Mohács.
- In Bulgaria, the kukeri festival, has a centuries-old tradition. In Karlovo, there is the only museum in the world presenting such traditions. Turkish parallels such as sürele, arsura, or pitsen are indicative of Old Bulgarian origin.
- Similar carnival masks also exist in Switzerland: in Lötschental in Valais, they are called Tschäggättek.
- A similar ritual exists even in Spain (la Vijanera). Spanish busós are called zarramacos.
- In Slovenia, Ptuj hosts an international festival (Kurentovanje na Ptuju), where Slovenian “kurents” walk the streets of the towns on the Drava coast, like the carnival customs of the Mohács busós.
- In Međimurje, Croatia, there is the so-called Fašnik (the meaning of which is the same as the Hungarian carnival), there are winterizing figures, also very similar to the Kurentos of Ptuj and the busós of Mohács.
- The masked figures of Grobnički dondolaši are permanent characters of the carnival organized in the Croatian village of Grobnik.
The ritual of Busójárás lasts for 6 days, and it is organized at the end of the carnival season, in Hungarian called Farsang late February. It took place between the 16th and 21st of February in 2023.
Busós are mainly men wearing scary costumes, unique wooden masks, and woolly cloaks made of sheepskin. They like to chase around and circulate among the crowd while pulling pranks and making a big noise as a symbol of scaring the winter away.