Călușul at Rusalii and its overlapping contexts

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The căluș ritual of southern Romania (also found in certain villages in northern Bulgaria) takes place every year at the time of Rusalii (Pentecost, 50 days after Orthodox Easter).  The căluș has drawn the attention of many researchers, from a range of backgrounds and disciplines including folklorists, religious historians (spiritual and ritual), ethnochoreologists, and anthropologists. The elements of this ritual have been described in many publications. In 2005 the căluș ritual was listed in the UNESCO list of intangible heritage list.

However căluș is more than just the healing ritual, it is a multi-facet custom that retains a strong place within the collective memory of Romanians. Although the ritual healing is rare nowadays, the căluș customs and dancing continue to take place and are still important in community life in southern Romania.

Our Căluș research

For the last two decades we have followed southern căluș in several overlapping contexts through our personal fieldwork in southern Romania and northern Bulgaria, in written literature and archival sources, and virtually using online resources.

These contexts include:

  • The căluș custom during Rusalii in southern Romanian villages (house-to-house and dancing in the street)
  • Căluș groups dancing in towns and cities in the period of Rusalii
  • Annual Căluș festivals organised at local and county levels during and after Rusalii
  • Căluș as a choreography performed by dance ensembles

Călușari going house to house in the village of Brancoveni

Our ethnographic web site has three pages about Căluș

The Căluș ritual

Lower Danubian Călușari

Калушари, Kalushari, Călușari in Bulgaria

Kalush (in Bulgarian script Калуш) is the official transliteration of căluș. Over time, especially since 1990, the number of villages in northern Bulgaria along the Danube that have Kalush groups has steadily declined (parallel to the reduction in the rural population in Bulgaria). Today only the Kalush groups in the villages of Harlets and Zlatiya continue perform at festivals in Bulgaria.

Our themes of interest

  • Căluș in its many overlapping contexts
  • Căluș as part of Romanian men’s group dances
  • Căluș and Romanian identity
  • Căluș presentational performance and choreography
  • Călușari and 1935 international folk festival in London
  • Kalush in Bulgaria – links to Romanian căluș and comparative histories


  1. Foley, Catherine E., et al. (2022). "Maud Karpeles: Her Contribution to Dance Research and to the Council." In: Svanibor Pettan, Naila Ceribašić & Niles, and Don (eds.) Celebrating the International Council for Traditional Music: Reflections on the First Seven Decades, pages 18-30. Ljubljana: University of Ljubljana Press and International Council for Traditional Music.
  2. Mellish, Liz. (2006). "The Romanian Căluș tradition and its changing symbolism as it travels from the village to the global platform."
  3. Mellish, Liz & Green, Nick (2013). "Traditional folk dance performance in the 21st Century: Romanian Căluș versus English Morris: Revivalist versus ex-communist?" In: Kunej, Drago & Šivic, Urša (eds.) Trapped in folklore? : studies in music and dance tradition and their contemporary transformations, pages 81-99. Zurich: Lit Verlag.