Mohács is one of the most famous towns in Hungary. It has a very rich history, including the romans, the battle of Mohács, and the Busójárás (means Busó-walking) or Busó Carnival, as you like. Every February, the Hungarian town of Mohács is taken over with revelry, mayhem and celebration, as the festival of Busójárás at its best is celebrated during the carnival season. In 2009, the UNESCO declared it to be part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Mohács is a river port and industrial town by the Danube in South-Hungary, close to the borders with Croatia and Serbia with a population of 20.000. It was the site of a battle in 1526, in which the Hungarians were defeated by the Turkish force. The battle resulted in Hungary becoming part of the Ottoman Empire.
According to the legend, the 300-year-old tradition of the Busó began at the time of the second battle of Mohács, when some of our tricky ancestors escaped from the Turkish occupation and found shelter on the Mohács Island, which is actually the other side of the river Danube. They dressed in disguise and scary masks and returned across the river, raiding the superstitious Turks, who panicked and turned tail from the town, as soon as they sighted the masked men. Today, the festival is held to scare away winter and celebrate the arrival of spring.
First of all, there are no rules! Part of the excess surrounding Busójárás could be owed to the fact that during festival time, rules are deleted and anything goes. While this contributes to the party atmosphere, in the past it’s possible that this had more far-reaching results. It’s suggested that the Šokci people were able to thrive and survive as children were often conceived during Busójárás – and their lineage could not be questioned.
It lasts for a week, usually in the end of February. Stretching from Thursday until Tuesday, but the largest celebration is on Sunday – this is called Farsang Vasárnap (Carnival Sunday). Tuesday is also an important day in the schedule, as a large bonfire is lit in the main square, and a man made of straw is burned: this is called the Burial of Farsang.
All in all, if you’re around Mohács at the carnival time, you are simply unable to avoid the crowd. You can be sure, that you’ll get involved, since it’s almost impossible to attend Busójárás without taking part to it. So don’t forget: a trip to the festival means a trip to participate, even though, I strongly recommend it, as it’s such a fun.
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