Friday, 28 July 2017

Put on a mask and say a dirty joke in Strumica, Macedonia   
25 February 2014 | Next week the vivid carnival of Strumica, Macedonian Republic, will take place. Visitors from Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Albania and Montenegro are expected to arrive for this unique Balkan event – dressed in eccentric costumes and wearing colorful masks, to take part in the festive procession.

Ethnographers claim that the fest dates from centuries ago and is related to a religious festival, and that it was first mentioned in written by Turkish travel writer Evlija Celebija.

But similarly to many religious celebrations in the region, this one is probably also based on a pagan tradition. Its key rituals speak strongly in favor of such a hypothesis – the festival is dedicated to the engaged girls and they are the main characters of the festive activities. Their preparation starts with strict fasting – entirely on water, for three days. On the third day they are supposed to organize a sort of a women gathering, receiving gifts, predominantly bed linen for their future family life. They great their guests with vegetarian dishes and boza – highly unusual local drink of Arab origin, which many foreigners find unpalatable. The dining is followed by evenings, during which the crowd entertains itself with dirty jokes and erotic songs. Carrots and pumpkins with phallic shape are used as decoration. These three days are called Trimerene, (tri meaning three) or Trimeri – a name, which is now used for the whole festival.

The contemporary carnival attracts people from across the region – this year 41 groups, according to the organizers.

The date of the festival changes according to the Orthodox Christian calendar, it is always on Tuesday after Ash Monday. This year it starts on the 4th of March.

During the festivity after the carnival procession, the masked groups visit the homes of the engaged girls where among the masked, the girls are expected to recognize their fiancé.




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