The Busó Carnival and its many festivities kicked off yesterday in Mohács, a town in Southern Hungary. The event began on February 28 with the Kisfarsang (Little Carnival), will continue on Sunday and is scheduled to conclude with a program on Shrove Tuesday, March 5.
The six-day carnival marks the end of winter and the start of spring and fertility. During the Busó Carnival (or busójárás in Hungarian) costumed people — traditionally men — wearing big woolly cloaks and frightening masks carved out of wood march through the city of Mohács. The festival is multifaceted and includes a children’s costume contest; an art display showcasing the works created by mask carvers and other craftspeople; the arrival of more than 500 busós in rowboats on the Danube for a march through the city alongside horse-drawn or motorized vehicles; the burning of a coffin symbolizing winter on a bonfire in the central square and feasts and music throughout the city. Self-organized groups of busós of all cultural backgrounds still pass down mask carving techniques and rituals to younger generations. The Busó Carnival was included on the representative list of the UNESCO Cultural Heritages in 2009.