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Romanian children wearing real bear skins coming from the Bacau... News PhotoAncient,Arts Culture and Entertainment,Bucharest,Celebration,Child,Christmas,Cultures,Dancing,Holiday - Event,Performance,Romania,Travel,VerticalPhotographer Collection: AFP 2012 AFPRomanian children wearing real bear skins coming from the Bacau region (some 340 km northeast from Bucharest) perform the bears' dance, an ancient tradition before Christmas celebration, in Bucharest, December 23, 2012. Such ceremonies are still popular in the Balkans and Romania, especially during the days from Christmas Eve to Epiphany. Originally, they were ceremonies in connection with periodic return of the dead, with people wearing all sorts of masks and behaving like animals such as horses, goats or bears. It is believed that bears banish demons from houses and farmyards and wish a happy year. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL MIHAILESCU (Photo credit should read DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)