Jocul de măști (mask parade) – Jocul urșilor ( bears’ dance)

In the ethnographic area of Botosani mask dances are found most often at winter, from Christmas until the „breaking of the Old Year”, but they can also be found on other occasions. The climax of traditional events celebrating the New Year is the appearance of the masked characters. In bands that are organized ahead of time, led by bailiffs, dragomans, captains, or constituted on the spot, the masked characters stroll throughout the village, prompting the highest degree of community interest. The most common zoomorphic masks are goat, turkey, bear, deer, horses. The bear was an animal considered sacred by the Dacians – „the bear head – mask was used for rituals and ceremonies held in the ancient Dacian cult of Carpathian bear” (Romulus Vulpescu). By their diversity, the masked costumes in Botosani area provide a very picturesque reality . Its is also very interesting to admire the costumes of the gypsy bear tamers.