Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Transmission

Macedonian Revelers Occupy Vevcani In Annual Pagan Carnival

  • The carnival in Vevcani is a great opportunity to enjoy some rolicking good times. (REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski)
  • Most sources suggest the event dates back at least 1,400 years. (AFP/Robert Atanasovski)
  • Irreverence rules the day, with participants encouraged to let loose. (AFP/Robert Atanasovski)
  • Participants take the pagan elements to heart, ditching the region's deep-rooted Orthodox Christianity for the two-day affair. (REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski)
  • The village of Vevcani lies at the foot of the Jablanica mountain range, some 170 kilometers from the Macedonian capital, Skopje. But it might as well be the moon in early January. (AFP/Robert Atanasovski)
  • The parade is the highlight, but the carnival turns the streets of the village into a free-for-all of improvisation that runs right through the night. (REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski)
  • "Augustine the Fool" is one of three "official" kinds of mask in the festivities, the others being a bride or groom and a musician. (AFP/Robert Atanasovski)
  • This year's parade included astronauts, "Augustine the Fool," multiple Santa Clauses, and...frozen peasants? (AFP/Robert Atanasovski)
  • Masked revelers "have unlimited creative freedom for 'rapture' and to 'turn the world upside-down' in the spirit of improvisation, criticism, and irony," organizers say. (AFP/Robert Atanasovski)
  • Anything's fair game for ridicule, including Santa Claus and his reindeer. (AFP/Robert Atanasovski)

Paganism, Humor Rule In Vevcani Carnival

The western Macedonian village of Vevcani held its annual New Year's carnival this week, a spectacle that allows the heavily Orthodox locals to show off their creativity and indulge in some unbridled paganism.

It's also a great opportunity to enjoy some scenes of rolicking good times.

Dedicated to St. Basil the Great (Vasilij), the carnival turns the sleepy little mountainside municipality into a "theater without borders in which every house is part of a street scene with masked actors performing their games."

Vevcani's official website lists three traditional varieties of mask to be worn by participants -- likenesses of a bride or groom, a musician, or Augustine the Stupid. (I'm told that the phrase "Don't play Augustine the Fool" is a common phrase in Macedonia that translates roughly into "Don't act like a fool.")

But organizers boast that masked revelers "have unlimited creative freedom for 'rapture' and to 'turn the world upside-down' in the spirit of improvisation, criticism, and irony."

This year's parades included frozen peasants, astronauts, and multiple Santa Clauses with reindeer.

There was also at least one mock funeral to lampoon a long-running source of regional friction.

That's the element that caught the attention of Euronews:


The station offers a video snippet from this year's carnival that many Macedonians are sure to cringe at. The 20-second report highlights the smattering of participants who were trying to provoke Athens, even calling it "a politically sensitive festival."

"Residents of Vevcani use their pagan celebration to poke fun at Athens by staging events like mock funerals," the reporter says, although the vast majority of the street theater on display was far more innocuous.

And second, Euronews insists on calling it "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," the compromise solution forged in 1993 to allow the United Nations to sidestep the name dispute between Macedonia and Greece, which also has a region called Macedonia.

The municipality issues "carnival passports" to visitors upon arrival -- another element seen by some as a dig at the name spat.

x
Most sources suggest the Vevcani event dates back at least 14 centuries (others claim as many as 16).

The proceedings -- and the centrality of masks in it all -- are said to stem from an ancient tale of boy meets girl, according to "Balkan Inside":

The story begins just like any other love story. The best-looking bachelor was engaged to the best-looking maid in the village, before he went abroad to work. While working abroad, he fell and his face was disfigured. When he was to return to the village, the boy pleaded to his friends that they all should wear masks and hide their faces, so that his fiancee could get used to his hideous face more painlessly. As a result, the Carnival was born.

For Vasilica (Orthodox New Year) nothing happens according to a scenario or protocol. The entire village, the houses are part of the stage, and all people are actors or spectators. In the afternoon, two companies form: one from the upper hamlet and another from the lower hamlet, which meet in the village square and show off with their allusions.

-- Andy Heil
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: A Greek from: Canada
January 15, 2013 18:46
The journalists claimed "Poke fun". I would say it was "Hate speech" against Greeks

Now that former Yugoslavians have discovered they are "descendents of ancient Macedonians".... right before they eyes of their patronizing apologists that pretend not to notice... and instead .mentioned "minor" details like this.... Greeks might believe they are motived by something other than ethnic hatred and trying to cover up their shame for supporting the former Yugoslavians.


"This (US) Government considers talk of Macedonian "nation", Macedonian "Fatherland", or Macedonia "national consciousness" to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece" - US State Department Dec, 1944 (Foreign Relations Vol. VIII Washington D.C. Circular Airgram - 868.014/26)







In Response

by: A Macedonian from: Macedonia
January 15, 2013 21:12
Cool down buddy, because there was also "hate speech" (lol) versus Macedonian politicians and even versus the Macedonians themeselves ...
In Response

by: A Greek from: Canada
January 16, 2013 19:36
Perhaps Greeks should start having similar festivals mocking you former self-identifying ethnic Bulgarians that now call yourselvves "Macedonians"?

I am not going to "cool" down as long as you ultra nationalist fanatics pretend to be "Macedonians" and manipulate the name to insinuate 1/3 of my homeland is occupied. Identity theft is not a human right. Go get your own identity troll.


by: Peter from: Canada
January 15, 2013 23:08
The first comment on this site is pure Greek propaganda.The Vevchani carnival has been in existence for over 15 centuries in same tradition.Sinve the Greek person who wrote is living in Canada, and enjoys his freedom,respect for who he is,most probably even the streets he lives are written in Greek on Danforth and area, while I as taxpayer pay for it.In his native Greece,the Macedonians are not even allowed to speak their language,worship in their centuries old language,can't attend schools in their own language,and most of all,their identity has been taken away,they changed our christian names,villages,rivers,destroyed church icons from Cyrilic to Greek,and now you have a bone to pick with Macedonia?.Get a life my friend,we live in the most free country that cannot be compared with your backward country.
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 16, 2013 15:58
Macedonia?? wrong Vardaska Banovina

Macedonia is Greece.

People of Vardaska, Bulgarians, speak Bulgarian, folklore Bulgaria, culture Bulgarian.

A carnival that expresses hate towards their neighbour, message there.

and you are waiting to enter organizations EU, Nato with that attitude? stealing Greek, Bulgarian heroes, history language etc. etc.

Shape Up.
In Response

by: Peter from: Canada
January 16, 2013 23:59
The Macedonian language was spoken before Bulgaria ever existed.You know history as much as a monkey.Dendramis in 1925 was right.Read his comments at the League of Nations.Read "Greece without Columns,Black Athena by Bernald Black".you might learn something,instead of following Greek fabricated history.
In Response

by: A Greek from: Canada
January 18, 2013 21:19
@peter

Yes your language was spoken before the 20th century.. but before the communists modfied it and rename "macedonian" it was called BULGARIAN both by foreigners and its speakers. (why you don't need translators even today when visiting your Bulgarian relatives in Bulgaria)

The obviously plagiarized historical argument of the Macedonian nationalists for a separate Macedonian ethnicity could be supported only by linguistic reality, and that worked against them until the 1940s. Until a modern Macedonian literary language was mandated by the socialist-led partisan movement from Macedonia in 1944, most outside observers and linguists agreed with the Bulgarians in considering the vernacular spoken by the Macedonian Slavs as a western dialect of Bulgarian.
Dennis P. Hupchick, "Conflict and Chaos in Eastern Europe", Palgrave Macmillan, 1995



In Response

by: GM from: US
January 16, 2013 19:37
While your's is even better. By the way in his native Greece, the Macedonias are free to speek their own language, Greek. The slavoscopians are also free to speek their language, Bulagarian.
Before you go on a rant about hate speaches and racism, which is what you all do whenever anyone disagrees with you, it is a fact that you speak bulgarian, with a slight variation (ill give you that). same as americans speak english and latin americans speak spanish.
I don't know which one of your scholars enlightened you about about church vandalism and name changes, (perhaps the ones that claim the even Jesus was from FYROM), but it doesn't take a genius to see how rediculus those claims are, when the byzantine empire that adopted christianity as its faith used the greek language, and ruled over that teritory.
Cyrilic was a language created during that time to teach the slavs how to read and write.
As for freedoms and backward coutries, you wouldn't have to be mentioning the one that imprisons journalist for not agreeing with the ruling goverment, and closes media (newspaper, radio and tv) for the same reasons?
When you talk about backwards, look at your own country. Or wait until God comes to another commercial in your country and tell you what to do
In Response

by: A Greek from: Canada
January 16, 2013 19:42
What a load of crock.

It is you you fanatics have turned into "ancient Macedonians" right before the eyes of your apologists. (who dishonestly and dishonourably pretend not to notice to hide their shame for supporting you)

Now that you have suddenly become ancient macedonians (ie. self-identifying Greeks)... have.you already forget Tito renamed Vardar Yugoslavia into "Macedonia" in 1944 comrade? You already forget most of you used to self-identify as ethnic bulgarians? You already forget you modern "macedonian" identity is 100% the creation of state propaganda and assimilation comrade?

"The history of the construction of a Macedonian national identity does not begin with Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C. or with Saints Cyril and Methodius in the ninth century A.D. as Macedonian nationalist historians often claim"

"Krste Misirkov, who had clearly developed a strong sense of his own personal national identity as a Macedonian and who outspokenly and unambiguously called for Macedonian linguistic and national separatism, acknowledged that a Macedonian national identity was a relatively recent historical development."

"The political and military leaders of the Slavs of Macedonia at the turn of the century seem not to have heard Misirkov's call for a separate Macedonian national identity; they continued to identify themselves in a national sense as Bulgarians rather than Macedonians." - US Anthropologist Loring Danforth, "The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World", Princeton Univ Press, December 1995


In Response

by: A Greek from: Canada
January 16, 2013 19:44
You already "forget" you so called "Macedonian" language... was originally considered BULGARIAN before Yugoslavia communist propagandists modified it and renamed in "Macedonian" comrade?

The obviously plagiarized historical argument of the Macedonian nationalists for a separate Macedonian ethnicity could be supported only by linguistic reality, and that worked against them until the 1940s. Until a modern Macedonian literary language was mandated by the socialist-led partisan movement from Macedonia in 1944, most outside observers and linguists agreed with the Bulgarians in considering the vernacular spoken by the Macedonian Slavs as a western dialect of Bulgarian.
Dennis P. Hupchick, "Conflict and Chaos in Eastern Europe", Palgrave Macmillan, 1995


In Response

by: Peter from: Canada
January 16, 2013 23:49
I have asked for an answer few times on the following question;Since you are claiming Macedonia is Greek,why in the world did you sign the partition of geographic Macedonia between Bulgaria,Serbia and small part to Albania?.
I think,it is a reasonable question for you to answer, if your intelligence allows you to do so.The treaty of Serves which Greece signed on August 10th,1920 under Articles 7,8 and 9,the Greek government was to undertake certain obligations regarding"the protection of the non-Greek national minorities in Greece.I won't go into details,but in 1925 at the League of Nations Greece printed the Abecedar for the Macedonian school children.Serbia and Bulgaria protested,both Bulgaria and Serbia wanted to be written in their respective languages.The Greek high ranking representative Vasilis Dendramis objected.Serbia threatened to break the Alliance with Greece,and commence negotiations with Bulgaria for the division of Aegean Macedonia.What occurerd next is truly a rare example,the Greek representative at the League of Nations Dendramis responded by defending the Macedonian language as being neither Bulgarian,nor Serbian but an independent language.He listed various linguists and linguistic maps as evidence to support his claim of the independence of the Macedonian language.The high Greek official representing the Greek state not only recognized the existence of the Macedonian identity,but openly defended and supported it.On the church icons,Greece removed the Cyrilic,scrubbed over and re-written into Greek,I did see it in my own village.
King George himself in 1912 confirmed that when the Greek armies occupied Aegean Macedonia the overwhelming majority of the population were not Greeks,confirming the fact that the Greeks never lived in Macedonia since the most ancient times(Nikolaides,Spiros Melas).Ancient Hellens fought againts the Macedonians,and the evidence is,50,000 Greeks fought on the side of Darius.The Macedonians slaughtered 18,000 Greeks.Macedonian general Pithon massacred 23,000 more in a single battle when the Greeks revolted in the Lamian War.Macedonian king Antigonus II Gonatas fought three Greek uprising who unified against the "barbarous Macedonians"(Diodorus,Plutarch,Justin).
John Adams,one of US founding fathers,in a statement written back on July 14th 1783 to the first US State Secretary Robert Livingston,clearly states he wanted to see Macedonia as well as Greece independent from Ottoman rule.
Adams then goes to describe the Greeks as people...230 years later they are still described in the same way,"corrupted in their morals to such a degree,as to be faithless,perfidious race,destitute of courage..."
In Response

by: Anonymous from: A Greek
January 18, 2013 21:24
Along with you hiding the fact most of you are direct descedents of people that still self-identified as ethnic Bulgarians in the early 20th century, you are confusing modern nomenclature with ancient.

Putting aside ancient Macedonians self-identified as Greeks (something no amount of bizarre "recognition" will ever change) Ancient Kingdom of Macedonia (pre conquests) is located in entirely in Greece. The region of FYROM is located in what was once called Paoenia (to the north Dardinia). It was also part of Macedonia of Roman empire and annexed to Macedonia after being conquered but not part of original Macedonia.

Which begs the question, why do you former self-identifying ethnic Bulgarians, living in ancient Paeonia, pretending to be related to ancient Macedonia? And why are your patronizing apologists now dishonestly pretending not to notice your quick change away from Slavs into "ancient Macedonians"?

Racism anyone?
In Response

by: Peter from: Canada
January 19, 2013 00:47
You are forgetting,the Greek language came to existence in 1856-1858.Before then,the main language spoken in Greece was the Albanian,Turkish and Latin.You can throw dust in the eyes to someone who is not familiar with the Balkan history,but by the looks,you don't know your own fabricated history.
In 1925 at the League of Nations,the high ranking Greek representative acknowledged,the Macedonian language and identity are not Serbian nor Bulgarian,but a separate language,and identity.The defender was Vasilis Dendramis my friend,he was not a Macedonian,but a Greek.You are a small fish following Greeces anti-Macedonian propaganda.
In Response

by: Kiril from: Australia
January 17, 2013 01:31
Right you are Peter and for all those that dispute what Peter wrote, please enjoy some input on this subject from highly respectect and impartial organistation;

1. Gay McDougall, UN- Greece should withdraw from the dispute over whether there is a Macedonian minority on its territory and focus on protecting the rights to self-identification, freedom of expression and freedom of association of those communities.

2. Human Rights Watch- Recommends to the international community that it acknowledge and take steps to end human rights abuses by the Greek government. In particular, it urges the CSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities to investigate the situation of the ethnic Macedonians and to take steps to end discrimination against them.

3. Panayote Dimitras, Greek Helsinki Monitor - Greece and Bulgaria are isolated in their fantasy that there is no Macedonian minority. Every Greek politician is obsessed by the fantasy that there is no Macedonian minority living in Greece.
In Response

by: A Greek from: Canada
January 18, 2013 21:30
1. Gay McDougall is incompetent. Her own country of the US used to military support Greece in the name dispute (including claiming there is no such thing as an 'ethnic Macedonian". In addition she didn't bother to notice how you former Yugoslavians are suddenly "ancietn Macedonians" and irredentism.

2.. HRW lost all credibility on this issue when they started to whitewash FYROM;s sudden change into ancient Macedonians and irredentism.

3. Panayote Dimitraslost all credibility on this issue when they started to whitewash FYROM;s sudden change into ancient Macedonians and irredentism.

In short, none of your apologists have any moral credibility for as long as they don't denouce your now blatently obvious propaganda and state sponsered irredentist threats against my soverign homeland. If they carried about actually human rights they would be retracting recognition from FYROM rather than trying to hide their mistake in moral judgment. supporting you.

Greece warned not to recognize FYROM in good faith 20 years ago for just such reason but was patronizingly mocked by self-proclaimed experts. The giant Alexander statue in Skopie proved Greece were right all along to object.


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