Bulgaria Softens 'Barbaric' Dog Spinning Ritual
Besieged by animal rights activists, a small southeastern Bulgarian village has agreed to water down a controversial "dog spinning" ritual it has been proudly performing for ages.
In dog spinning, which is practiced in Brodilovo at the beginning of March, a dog is suspended above water on a rope.
The dog is turned repeatedly in a given direction to wind the rope, then released so that it spins rapidly in the opposite direction as the rope unwinds, until the dog falls into the water. The locals claim that the dog is not supposed to be physically hurt.
This ancient ritual of pagan origin is performed in order to prevent rabies and is a part of the traditional Kukeri rituals.
But on Saturday, under the critical eyes of animal rights activists from Sofia and Burgas, the people of Brodilovo opted for a softer version of the ritual and just threw the dog into the water without spinning it on a rope.
Days before the special date, the Bulgarian "Animal Rescue Sofia" NGO announced it would organize a visit to Brodilovo, in which the controversial "dog spinning" ritual is practiced even though it has been banned by the Mayor of the Tsarevo municipality.
"Animal Rescue Sofia" has launched a Facebook campaign to drum up support for stopping the ritual.
Dog spinning – or trichane, as locals call it - is now practiced only in Brodilovo. In 2005, the foreign media found out about the tradition and the world was outraged by its cruelty. Bulgarian animal welfare organizations also stood firmly against it.
The ritual was considered dead until 2011 when the villagers renewed it, as they were frightened by the FMD outbreak in the region. Prime Minister Boyko Borisov officially condemned it as "barbaric."
Many of the folklore traditions of Southeastern Bulgaria dating back to pagan times are world-renowned for their uniqueness - such as the fire-dancing or nestinarstvo, which is practiced only in this region.
A video of the dog spinning - or trichane - ritual performed on March 6, 2011, in Brodilovo is available HERE
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