Fred, thanks for posting this.
From your link:
“Kukeri are masked male dancers and mummers, who wear fantastic, often animal like masks (like the one pictured above) and huge bronze cowbells round their waists (like those pictured below). They carry sticks, which symbolise the phallus, in a spring fertility rite possibly derived from the ancient Dionysian new year festival.”
A Bulgarian co-worker once told me of a ritual in his homeland where people dressed up like animals for a festival, and it was something I’d never heard of before, then I recognized what he’d told me in the passage above.
Now doesn’t that tell you just how old these traditions and rituals are...no matter that the region in Bulgaria where the brides are so decorated is claimed to be muslim. The practice goes back thousands of years.