Dog spinning (Bulgarian
: тричане на куче(та), trichane na kuche(ta)
) is a ritual performed once a year on March 6 to prevent rabies in a village and keep away the bad spirits of springtime.
In dog spinning, a rope is wrapped around a dog and the animal is suspended above a body of water, such as a river. The dog is turned repeatedly until the rope is twisted as far as it will coil. Then the coil is released so the dog spins wildly as the rope unwinds and the animal falls into the water.
Nothing is supposed to happen to the dogs used in the ritual, but photos from previous dog spinning days show the faces of terrified animals as they hang helplessly above a river or stream with a crowd of people cheering from the shore. In the past dogs have drowned because they are so disoriented when they drop into the water.