The Bear dance
a very old agrarian ritual
The bear dance can be seen on New Year's Eve only in Moldavia. Its origin are older than 2000 yers and it's very similar to the Goat dance. It is said that it drives away the evil spirits and this way the new year what comes will be cleaned up.
So, you can watch the bear dance on its pagan rhythms on every New Year's Eve in Bacau county. Especially in Dofteana and Darmanesti villages.
A young man plays the bear role. He carries a bear skin on his head and shoulders. The skin is decorated with red tassels, mirrors, gold threads and brass nails. He's tied in chains and droved by a bear leader.
A herald wearing old military uniform opens the show. Then the bear leader orders the bear to dance. The bear has a real suite of musicians. So he'll dance on drums rhythm or on pipes song.
The man leans upon a cudgel while he mimics the bear's rocking gait. He grumbles. He knocks his boots down to the ground. A really great show.
The bear's band could also have other masked players as gypsies, old women or evils. In the show the bear dies and revives the same way the old year and new year do.
Previous custom: The goat dance
Next custom: The plough
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