These are pretty neat:
The photos were taken by Charles Fréger
, a French photographer for his "Wilder Mann"
project. Fréger photographed men in traditional costume around Europe.
A primal heart still beats in Europe. Deep beneath the gloss of cell phone sophistication lie rituals that hark back to harvests and solstices and fear of the winter dark. Monsters loom in this shadowy heart, but so does the promise of spring’s rebirth and fertile crops and women cradling newborn babes. It turns out that Europe—at least pockets of it—has not lost its connection to nature’s rhythms.
That connection is rekindled during festivals that occur across the continent from the beginning of December until Easter. The celebrations correspond to Christian holidays, but the rituals themselves often predate Christianity. The roots are difficult to trace. Men—and until recently, it has almost always been men—don costumes that hide their faces and conceal their true forms. Then they take to the streets, where their disguises allow them to cross the line between human and animal, real and spiritual, civilization and wilderness, death and rebirth. A man “assumes a dual personality,” says António Carneiro, who dresses as a devilish careto for Carnival in Podence, Portugal. “He becomes something mysterious.”
Apparently the first photo is a bear. OK, but are we talking a Lovecraftian bear?
I cannot figure out whether the costumes were worn for ceremonies and festivals that are religious in nature or if they were worn for more secular ones that incorporate old pagan elements. Regardless, they are some hoopy costumes. In addition to lots of bears, stags seem to be very prominent as well.
I have to admit, though, that the guy dressed as a tree make me chuckle as it reminded me of The Gamers: Dorkness Rising
Labels: Paganism, Photography, Tradition