The festival is rooted in the local Sokci community, an ethnographic group of mostly Croatian Slavs. According to legend, when the Ottomans occupied Hungary in the 16th century, the townspeople fled to the nearby marshlands where they met an old Sokci man who promised that they’d soon return to their homes. He told them to carve masks and prepare for battle. When the masked, sheepskin-clad townspeople reappeared in the midst of a winter storm, the Ottomans thought they were facing demons and fled before sunrise. As a result, Busojaras has come to symbolize a way to scare away winter itself — and it’s no longer just Sokci people who participate. Now, every February, tourists flood Mohacs to take in the spectacle.Besides looking wild, the Busos also act wild, shouting and banging on things to make as much noise as possible, harassing spectators, and (a recent favorite) mocking anyone trying to take a selfie.
Charles Fréger's book on the whole European tradition of dressing up as Beast Men for Carnival or the New Year:
A man "assumes a dual personality," says Antonio Carneiro, who dresses as a devilish careto for Carnival in Podence, Portugal. "He becomes something mysterious."The festival is about recognizing the different sorts of being we feel within in us, and that we see in the world around us: cruelty and kindness, hate and love, winter and summer. It is about experiencing, for a little while, a different identity and a different reality, one more tied to ancient archetypes than to the drab concerns of our daily lives.