The end of winter in Hungary is celebrated with a 6 day masked carnival/festival.
The Busos festival legend originates for two different stories.
One legend states that during the Ottaman (Turkish) times of territory the local villagers fled to nearby swamps and woodland to escape the Ottoman troops. Then one night a hooded man appeared out of nowhere and told them ‘your troubles will soon be over and you can return home, but until that time you must prepare for war by making weapons and carving masks for yourselves. In the next storm, a masked knight will appear.’
The villagers did as they were told, and sure enough, when the next storm came a masked knight appeared and told them to put on their masks, make as much noise as possible and prepare for battle. They followed the knight into town and the Ottomans were so scared by them that they thought they were being attacked by demons and fled the village immediately, allowing the villagers to take back their home.
An even older legend than the Ottomans is that the Busos were actually scaring away winter!
During the festival more than 500 Busos wearing animal fur and carved masks travel up the River Danube in rowboats to march through the city with noisy clappers and cracking whips. A coffin is then burnt on a huge bonfire in the city centre which symbolises the death of winter.
The masks are made out of natural materials and carved by hand, some of them are beautifully ornate yet still terrifying at the same time!