- Title: Hundreds take part in Romanian town's "bear dance" festival
- Date: 30th December 2016
- Summary: PEOPLE PLAYING MUSIC VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN COSTUMES DANCING MAN PLAYING BIG DRUM WITH A BEAR AND A WOMAN PAINTED ON IT
- Embargoed: 14th January 2017 13:49
- Keywords: bear dance Romania New Year
- Location: COMANESTI, ROMANIA
- City: COMANESTI, ROMANIA
- Country: Romania
- Topics: Living/Lifestyle,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0025F2RMEX
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Following the rhythm of traditional music and dressed in bear costumes, hundreds of people lined the streets of the Romanian town of Comanesti on Friday (December 30) to celebrate the passing of 2016 and welcome the new year.
The parade attracts tourists and participants, who throng the small north-eastern town in hope that the new year will bring better "spirits" than the passing one.
"We are bringing the tradition further, to push away last year's bad spirits and bring in better ones in with new year," Adrian told Reuters before the parade started.
Apart from eating, drinking and being merry, the highlight of festivities is the "bear dance" itself, where marchers clad in full bearskins strut their stuff in a custom dating back more than 150 years.
"We are coming from England to perform, like every year, the bear dance. It is an important tradition for us, we have been doing this for 30 years," said Alexandru, who lives in the UK.
Costumes are made of real skin and are in high demand, with people paying up to 5,000 euros to be dressed as an animal prized in Romania for its symbolism of strength and courage.
While the modern parade takes place in the town centre, dancers in earlier times used to prowl from house to house singing and dancing to ward off evil.
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