Last year as I was “visiting” the Greek Foundation website I have come across a striking series of photos entitied the “Faces+Masks”- the Bellwearers of Eastern Macedonia which were created by Nikos Vavdinoudis .This Dionysian tradition has survived from ancient times till today in various parts of Greece. In Messinia a similar custom takes place in Nedousa, a mountain village close to Kalamata, during the Ash Monday. This year the celebration falls on March 14 according to the Orthodox Calendar. I do hope to travel to Nedousa and partake in this ancient carnival rites for the first time this year and share with you the photos. Till then I post the wonderful work of Nikos which depicts the Bell-wearers coming from Eastern Macedonia regions of Drama and Kavala. In Macedonia these rituals are performed at the beginning of the year, around January 6-8. The participants dress in an imposing and intimidating with the purpose of casting out any evil…wearing masks made of animal skins, huge ringing bells strapped around their waists and having their face covered by ash. The natives colling for the result of this ritual to be a fertile and good year, full of fruitfulness and productivity.The photo-shoot is a chronicle that interweaves the actual events with the photographer’s personal view. The subjects were photographed in a natural setting, in the villages of Drama and Kavala in harmony with their familiar surroundings. In some photographs, artificial lighting and settings have been used to highlight the person hiding behind the disguise. The removal of the mask startles observers and forms an unexpected bridge between the man and the character he incarnates.