Charles Freger

when we are the spirit doll : The Wild Men of Europe by Charles Freger

Photograph by Charles Fréger
Spring festivals in the Pyrenees feature local men playing the role of bears awakening from hibernation.

Photograph by Charles Fréger
Every five years the men of Telfs collect lichen to create Wilder Mann, or Wild Man, costumes for the town’s Carnival festival. Tradition dictates that they nibble on a piece of this lichen before the festivities.

Photograph by Charles Fréger
During Carnival in Lazarim characters called “caretos” parade through the village in hand-carved masks to a bonfire where effigies known as thecomadre and compadre are burned.

Photograph by Charles Fréger
On New Year’s Day men cover themselves with goatskins to impersonate the Kukeri, who both embody and chase away evil spirits. In the past they’d brush against women to bestow fertility.

Photograph by Charles Fréger
Thousands of burrs adorn the Burryman. The man who plays the role at the Ferry Fair in Queensferry must collect all the burrs himself. Once dressed, he walks the town, accepting offers of money and whiskey and bestowing good luck.