|The Koukers’ custom has carnival characteristics.
It’s a performance with it’s own composition, non-written traditional script,
defined in advance. This gives opportunity for some improvisations. The
script consists of scenes mixed in a plot. There are some local variations.
The ritual is performed by the characters who use gestures, acts and some words (blessings). These last ones are firmly set or improvised dialogues. Sometimes, not very often, the performance is accompanied by music, songs and dances, performed by the village musicians.
The first important act of the ritual is the act of walking round the village by the Koukers. They visit every house. On their way and in the yards they perform different scenes, bearing sexual symbolism. The Koukers throw down the “bride” or the “old woman”. Using expressive body movements and wooden phallus, they represent a sexual intercourse. The “groom” or the “old man” defend “the bride” and “the old woman” from the lustful Koukers and if the groom can’t defeat them, he falls dead. The bride start crying and ask the bear or the doctor to save her beloved. At that time she imitates the birth of a child (a wooden doll or cat). During their tour round the village, the all disguised men “hit” softly with the wooden swords the women from the audience to become pregnant. They make high jumps accompanied by music. They believe that this is a magical way to stimulate the growth of corns and to insure rich crops.
The hosts give the Koukers eggs, flours, wool, bread and etc. the climax of the ritual is the symbolic plough and sowing. It’s performed the Village square. The Koukers’ king and the bride harness the groom to a “plough”. They go round the square three times. While tilling they spread seeds.
After the third circle round the square the “groom” falls “dead”. The “bride” and the other characters rush towards him, cry and ask to revive. When the ”groom” revive, the ”bride” gives a birth to a child. In this way they represent the myth of the dying and resurrecting God of vegetation and fertility- Dyonisius. In some districts the carnival ends with a ritual bath for the participants. It’s believed that the bath will send away the evil spirits. Then people dance in the square the food given to the Koukers is sold and the many is spend for a male feast. If something left, it’s presented to the church and schools.
The above described actions and scenes performed by disguised characters are called “Koukers’ games”.
The “Koukers’ games” meaning, its traditional spirit revives
the historical myth. It is handed down to future generations.