The Mohácsi Busójárás, which lasts six days and offers more than 160 programs in 15 locations, begins on Thursday with the programs of the Carnival, including presentations by busó groups, carnivals and children’s masquerades, and dance halls.
According to the organizers, a record number of 2,500 masked and 71 busó groups will take part in the country’s largest winter burial and spring welcoming event, the tradition-preserving folk custom taking place between February 8 and 13.
On the first day of the event, which lasts from the last Thursday of the carnival until Shrove Tuesday, the events begin in the morning with the opening event entitled Little, Big of the Masquerade at the local youth center, and then a contest is organized for the schools of the area.
Before three o’clock in the afternoon, the first carnival parade of the busójárás starts from the Sokackör, then the free carnival of children’s masquerades and later on, children’s folk dance groups and busó groups hold demonstrations in the city’s main square.
Thursday’s event will also be colored by exhibitions and dance halls: on Széchenyi Square, busó transportation tools will be presented, and the new permanent exhibition of the Dorottya Museum in Kanizsa, with the help of the Hungarian Genius Program of the National Cultural Fund, will open under the title Meeting of Peoples on the Danube in Mohács.
On Friday, an exhibition of the works of Busó mask carvers and other folk art curators opens, folklore programs are held, bands perform in the Busóudvar, a volume about Croatian folk costumes in Baranya country is presented, while a Croatian dance house is held on the Market Square with József Kovács Versendi and his band.
On Saturday, those interested can get a glimpse into the workshop secrets of making the many traditional Mohács clothing pieces, from the early hours of the morning, tambourine bands, folk dance ensembles, busó groups hold demonstrations, a wedding procession, and the folk arts and crafts fair opens.
According to tradition, the most spectacular programs of folk customs will be held on Carnival Sunday again this year. On February 11, the people dressed as busó cross the Danube by boat, parade in the city center, float the carnival coffin, inaugurate new busó peoples and light a huge bonfire in the main square of the city.
During the day, those interested can watch the carnival preparations of busó groups, but there will also be a puppet concert and food tasting.
Among the events on Monday, there will be an interactive carnival activity for children, the busó will traditionally go from house to house on Kóló tér and the surrounding streets.
On Tuesday, in addition to the accompanying events, the main attraction that concludes the busó tour will be held: after the afternoon parade, the giant bonfire in the main square will be lit and the coffin symbolizing winter will be burned.
In response to MTI’s inquiry, the organizers previously announced that they expect around 110,000 visitors over the six days of the event, including 40,000 to 45,000 visitors on Saturday and Sunday, but they are also preparing for a large crowd in the city on the Danube on Tuesday.
The famous carnival event, which was settled by the Sokac ethnic group in Mohács, was first mentioned in a record from 1783.
According to a legend living among the ethnic groups that settled around Mohács during the Turkish subjugation, their cunning ancestors fled from the Turkish occupation to Mohács Island on the other side of the Danube. The multitudes returned after crossing the river wearing disguises and attacked the superstitious Turks, who, terrified by the frightful masqueraders, fled the city headlong.
The traditional elements of winter hunting and spring greeting folk customs have remained unchanged for centuries: adults dressed in badger furs, linen coats in carved masks, and equipped with characteristic props – satchels, maces, lap clappers and columns – say goodbye to the harsh season and wait for spring.
In 2009, the UNESCO Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of the United Nations added the busó tour as the first Hungarian element to the representative list of the intellectual cultural heritage of humanity.
*The busó is the main character of the holiday: a monster figure with a wooden mask in an inside-out fur coat. The fur coat is held together by a chain or rope, sometimes by a belt, and the permanent accessory is the pole, the clapper, or the wooden mace. They often travel around the city on carts and small tractors with decorated trailers. It is already part of the tradition that busó groups compete year after year to see who can come up with the funniest, most striking, yet traditionally new idea regarding appearance.