charles fréger's wild men

Charles Fréger "Wild Men" of Europe are beautiful and fascinating.

CZECH REUPUBLIC: In the village of Nedašov, devils join the retinue of St. Nicholas to frighten children into being good.
POLAND: Macidulas on New Year’s Day
FRANCE: Bear at the Festival of the Bears
ROMANIA: Stag on New Year’s Day
ITALY: Schnappviecher (snapping beast) on Shrove Tuesday
AUSTRIA: 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.
Portugal: During Carnival in Lazarim characters called “caretos” parade through the village in hand-carved masks to a bonfire where effigies known as the comadre and compadre are burned.
If you thought Santa’s naughty list was intimidating, chances are you never encountered a Krampus.
A beastlike creature that is part of the pagan folklore of Alpine countries including Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia, the Krampus was to play “bad cop” so Santa could spend time focusing on the better behaved children.
The Krampus is also the first beast Charles Fréger  encountered during his two-year journey through 19 European countries documenting pagan festivals. The resulting series, “Wilder Mann” is on view at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York through May 18 and is also available as a monograph titled Wilder Mann: The Image of the Savage published by Dewi Lewis Publishing.
All photographs by Charles Fréger. See more of Fréger's Wild Men over on National Geographic.

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