Kukeri A photography project by Aron Klein

– Chasing evil spirits With Bulgaria’s Kukeri

“Kukeri” is an ancient pagan ritual practiced annually across the Balkan mountain regions where local men wear carved wooden masks of beasts’ faces and hang heavy bells around their waists as they perform arcane dances.

The word ‘kuker’ comes from Latin (‘cuculla,’ meaning a ‘hood’) and it denotes a folkloric monster, a man dressed in an elaborate suit of fur. These figures are intended to dispel evil spirits and protect their community from ill fortune.

The decorated costumes worn by some of the locals blur the distinction between animals and humans, which highlights the deep connection that this culture maintains with its natural habitat.

“Our society no longer contains ceremony and ritual as part of our cultural practices, so I was really drawn to document a community that continues to value folklore and tradition,” Aron explains. “Each of these images depicts the subtleties of the character’s local folk tales.”

– Discover more of Aron’s work here

Monthly Photo Contest

© Jelena Jankovic

2021 People AWARD Deadline: 31 October 2021

Spanning across all corners of the globe, crossing both cultures and borders; we’ve created a complex world of traditions and behaviors. There are few restrictions and we are looking for portraiture, travel, street photography, documentary work, photojournalism, or any other form of photographic practice that tells the story of people!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

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