Traditional Romanian rituals are a mix of pagan, Eastern Orthodox and Western Christianity. At Christmas and New Year, ritual dances use masks and fetishes like the "stag" pictured abov.
The capra or "Dance of the Goat" (or stag) is danced by young men in costumes and masks representing old people, shepherds, and the devil. Whether goat or stag, the animal is killed, mourned, buried and resurrected in the dance.
For the fetish, a patterned woven blanket over a wooden core is used for the body. The head is made of wood with real horns. The stag here sports a huge rack of antlers, trimmed with tinsel, bells and tassels. The wooden mouth of both the goat and stag are made to clack.
The dance is usually performed on New Year's Eve and, in history, was considered a heathen ritual aimed at increasing the fertility of the herd or, more generally, of crops. In recent years, the goat dance is seen more as an opportunity to ring in the New Year and show off the beautiful hand textiles of the region.