“The running of the Lole(s)” is a custom with deep historical roots dating back to the turkish occupation of the saxon fair in Agnita, Romania. According to legend, Ursula, the daughter of a furrier from Agnita managed to scare away the turkish invaders who came to conquer their land by dressing herself up into “an evil spirit”. She wore a costume and a scary mask, cracked her whip and made lots of noise using cow bells attached to her costume. In the XVII - XVIII the Lole(s) custom was heavily associated with the custom of handing over the guild chest to the new toastmaster. This ceremony included people dressed up as Lole(s) who had a comedic factor and were meant to protect all the guild chests from that area.
“The running of the Lole(s)” is similar to a parade and the event commences with a guild captain accompanied by two children - which symbolise guarding angels. Each guild presents traditional crafts to the audience, with specific characters and elements. The parade ends with the the Transylvanian hymn and with “the running of the Lole(s)”, who run in groups on the streets, cracking their whips and sounding their cow bells to chase away evil spirits. If anyone in the audience recognises someone in costume, they are instantly rewarded with a doughnut and a glass of wine. The charm of the Lole(s) sits in their costumes for sure. Along with their shirts and trousers made out of black textile materials sewn onto a white material, la pièce de résistance is the mask, made out of wire covered with rabbit, marten, fox or mink fur. Today, “the running of the Lole(s) occurs annually on Guild Day.
Documentary produced by:
Camera: Martin Wallmen
Edit: Matei Plesa
Text: Ioana Hurjui