Running of the Bulls

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Beautiful card from my friend Kristina. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Running of the Bulls (in Spanish: encierro) is a practice that involves running in front of a small group of bulls (typically a dozen) that have been let loose on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town’s streets. The most famous running of the bulls is that of the eight-day festival of Sanfermines in honour of Saint Fermin in Pamplona, although they are held in towns and villages across Spain, Portugal, in some cities in Mexico, in San Josรฉ Festival held in Trujillo, Peru.

The origin of this event comes from the need to transport the bulls from the off-site corrals where they had spent the night, to the bullring where they would be killed in the evening. Youngsters would jump among them to show off their bravado. In Pamplona and other places, the six bulls in the event are still those that will feature in the afternoon bullfight of the same day.

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Balinese tradition

e4gNJ4fRQ47JR8eYPLPDYC0RThis one comes from Shella. ๐Ÿ™‚ The caption says “Prayers performed as part of a tooth-filing ceremony in Peliatan.”

A tooth filing ceremony is one of the ceremonies that a Balinese must undergo when they come of age. Depending on the finances of the family, they will take place at the onset of puberty or at the latest, when they die. To reduce costs, often families wait till enough children are old enough to have a mass ceremony, rather than having each child done individually.

The ceremony is symbolic essentially of three things: a coming of age, a transition from animal to human represented by the filing of the sharp canines, and the control of the six human evils: desire (kama), greed (lobha), anger (krodha), intoxication or being under the influence of strong emotion (mada), confusion (moha), and jealousy (matsarya).

It is a joyous affair with a lot of colourful offerings and gentle music. The music is played on two gender wayang instruments, particularly suited because of their calming sound and soothing scale. Those present will be family members and invited guests. The people who have their teeth filed are often dressed in fairly ornamental garb with the women donning gold-gilded headdresses.

It takes about ten minutes for each participant to have their teeth filed by the lay priest and is said to be fairly painless. They do however use cloves to numb the mouth slightly. Those not wishing to have their teeth actually physically filed for cosmetic or health reasons may choose to have the ceremony performed only symbolically.

The ceremony, in typically Balinese style, is completed by a buffet of spicy food, sliced fruit and strong coffee or sweet tea.

 

Kurentovanje

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My first card from Slovenia comes from Tamara. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kurentovanje is one of the most ethnologically significant Slovenian carnival festivals. It is celebrated in Ptuj on Shrove Sunday in the afternoon and visited by more than 100,000 people every year. The main figure, called Kurent or Korent, wears a massive sheepskin garment and a chain with huge bells around its waist, resulting in the noise the function of which is to “chase away winter”.

It looks a lot like Bulgarian ritual kukeri. ๐Ÿ˜€

Kukeri

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Yu-huuu! My first stamped Bulgarian card. ๐Ÿ˜€ It came from Aneta who lives in Sofia, and it reached me after the very impressive 2 weeks of traveling. ๐Ÿ˜€

The card pictures a traditional Bulgarian ritual. Men dress up in scary costumes, put some huge (and very heavy) bells on their belts, and dance to scare the evil spirits away. The costumes are slightly different in the different regions, but one thing always remains unchanged – it’s always very noisy and very colorful. ๐Ÿ˜€