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The Koukeri Day Preparation

It started many years ago when I, still a young kid, was watching the koukeri celebrations in various villages and in my city, and wanted to be one of them. Who would have thought that I would fulfill my dream 10,000 km away from Bulgaria!
Immediately upon my announcement that we’d be celebrating the Koukeri Day, several people from Igranka offered their help. I just don’t know what I would have accomplished without them – the search for suitable hides, horns, yarn, timber, tin, etc, proved to be more labour- and time-consuming than what we had anticipated. Stoyan took on the fine work of welding the additional bells; Spas and Rado did the bulk of the woodwork - the small chairs and table, the yoke, the plough, the swords. Their wives, Gergana and Rositsa, both Igranka dancers, knitted the colourful ropes and sewed their husbands’ costumes over a weekend at home. The eight-year-old Emil, Spas and Gergana’s son, made the tassels for all koukeri in a single five-hour sitting! I am extremely grateful to all these people, as well as to Elena and Tenko for the ideas and most of the wooden swords, and, of course, to my wife Katya for her help with my mask and everything else that remains untold, but contributed to the success of our Koukeri Day. Actually, the excitement and joy that went into the preparation were by no means less than those of the celebration itself, especially if we count the two improvised pre-koukeri dinner parties :)