Photographer captures still-practiced Pagan rituals of Europe

Photographer Charles Fréger spent two years journeying through 18 European countries to document still-practiced pagan rituals. Here is a selection of his images. 

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    Wilder Mann 6, 2010  The Krampus, a legend in Alpine countries, is said to punish misbehaving children during the winter Yule season. In contrast, Saint Nicholas, rewards well-behaved children with gifts.
    Charles Fréger
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    Caretos, Lazarim, Portugal, 2010-2011 “I found myself in front of something very radical, no face,” said Fréger.“It was more of a character with a mask and a focus where the body is more important than the face itself.”
    Charles Fréger
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    Wilder Mann 92, 2010  Initially Fréger planned on covering 12 countries, but the more he worked on the project, the more he found himself traveling.
    Charles Fréger
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    Laufr (Jumper), Třebič, Czech Republic, 2010–2011 Fréger said many of the traditions had a lot in common, regardless of the country they came from.
    Charles Fréger
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    Wilder Mann 25, Wilder Mann , 2010  In full-length portraits, the artist's photographs show celebrants enveloped in traditional costumes, crafted from layers of animal skins, local plants, bones and antlers.
    Charles Fréger
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    Babugeri, Bansko, Bulgaria, 2010–2011 Fréger first saw a costumed “Wild Man” while watching a friend’s show in Lyon, France.
    Charles Fréger
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    Cerbul (Stag), Corlata, Romania, 2010-2011 Fréger said many of the traditions are full of joy.
    Charles Fréger
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    Ursul (Bear), Palanca, Romania, 2010–2011 The Pagan concept of a “Wild Man” is based on changing seasons and rites of passage.
    Charles Fréger
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    Boes, Ottana, Sardinia, Italy, 2010 “There was a slight touch of universality because a lot of the groups were doing something similar without knowing one another," said Fréger.
    Charles Fréger
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    Macinula, Cisiec, Poland, 2010 "Many of the festivities were focused on animals and vegetation, you could photograph someone dressed like a bear for example in Portugal or Spain or Romania. To me this was really exciting and interesting,” said Fréger.
    Charles Fréger
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