The Busójárás (Hungarian, meaning “Busó-walking”; in Croatian: Pohod bušara) is an annual celebration of the Šokci (Croats) living in the town of Mohács, Hungary, held at the end of the Carnival season (“Farsang”), ending the day before Ash Wednesday. The celebration features Busós (people wearing traditional masks) and includes folk music, masquerading, parades and dancing.
Busójárás lasts six days, usually during February. It starts on a Thursday, followed by the Kisfarsang (Little Farsang) carnival on Friday, with the biggest celebration, Farsang vasárnap (Farsang Sunday) on the seventh Sunday before Easter Sunday; the celebration then ends with Farsangtemetés (Burial of Farsang) on the following Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras).
Locals explain the Carnival with two similar but different legends.
Busó masks (Mohács, February 2006)
According to the more popular legend, during the Turkish occupation of the territory the people of Mohács fled the town, and lived in the nearby swamps and woods to avoid Ottoman (Turkish) troops. One night, while they were sitting and talking around the fire, an old Šokci man appeared suddenly from nowhere, and said to them, “Don’t be afraid: your lives will soon turn to good, and you’ll return to your homes. Against that time, prepare for the battle, carve various weapons and scary masks for yourselves, and wait for a stormy night when a masked knight will come to you.
” He disappeared as suddenly as he had come. The refugees followed his orders, and some days later, on a stormy night, the knight arrived. He ordered them to put on their masks and go back to Mohács, making as much noise as possible. They followed his lead. The Turks were so frightened by the noise, the masks, and the storm in the night, that they thought demons were attacking them; and they ran away from the town before sunrise.
In the older, less popular story, the busós are scaring away not the Turks but Winter itself.
In any case, the locals have celebrated the Busójárás in early February every year ever since, hosting “guest Busó teams” from neighbouring countries (Croatia and Serbia, local Šokci Croats) and also from Poland.
Main events in Mohács:
February 11 – Kids’ Carnival
2:30 p.m. Busó masquerade party for kids in the streets
3:15 p.m. Busó parade from Sokac-köz to Széchenyi tér (until 5 p.m.)
3 p.m.-5 p.m. Local folk dance troupes and Busó shows on Széchenyi tér
4 p.m.-7 p.m. Kids can make masks at the Duna Irodaház (Szabadság utca 4-6.)
7 p.m. Folk dancing for everyone at the Duna Irodaház (Szabadság utca 4-6.)
February 12 – Carnival Friday
7 p.m.-10 p.m. From pub to pub: a wine tour with the Busó
8 p.m. Folk dancing for everyone at the Duna Irodaház (Szabadság utca 4-6.)
February 13 – Carnival Saturday
9 a.m. Folk singing competition at the Duna Irodaház (Szabadság utca 4-6.)
Noon Start of the crafts market on the downtown streets
1 p.m. Busó parade from the ferry docks to Széchenyi tér
4 p.m. Busó commemoration of the Battle of Mohács at Széchenyi tér, followed by a wreath-laying and the Dance of the Busó
8 p.m. Folk Dance Evening at the Duna Irodaház (Szabadság utca 4-6.)
9 p.m. Masquerade Ball at the Schneider School of the Arts (Vörösmarty u. 3.)
February 14 – Carnival Sunday
9 a.m. Arts and folk crafts market at the school and in the streets
9 a.m. – noon Watch the Busó get ready at Bajcsy-Zsilinszky utca 60.
10 a.m. Hungarian, Croatian, German folk dance show at the Kossuth Filmszínház
10:30 a.m. Folk dancing on Széchenyi tér
1 p.m. The Busó cross the Danube (ferry docks)
1:30 p.m. Hungarian, Croatian, German folk dance show on Széchenyi tér
2:30 p.m. Busó Parade from Kóló tér to Széchenyi tér
3 p.m. Party in the streets!
4:15 p.m. Goodbye winter! Sending the casket onto the Danube
5 p.m. Torch-lighting and Dance of the Busó on Széchenyi tér
7:30 p.m. Dancing with the Busó at the Duna Irodaház (Szabadság utca 4-6.)
9 p.m. Ball at the Schneider School of the Arts (Vörösmarty utca 3.)
February 15 – Carnival Monday
Noon – 7 p.m. The Busó go from house to house in the Kóló tér area
February 16 – Shrove Tuesday
3:15 p.m. Busó parade from Kóló tér
3:30 p.m. Busó group photo at City Hall, then dancing in the streets
4:30 p.m. Folk dance show at Széchenyi tér
5 p.m. Torch-lighting and bonfire-burning of the casket symbolizing winter!
http://www.mohacsibusojaras.hu (Hun only)