CELEBRATION OF DJURDJEVDAN IN GORA REGION

May 07, 2022

First time since the outbreak of the pandemic, Gorani people celebrated Saint George’s Day, their most important annual celebration which is commonly known as “Djurdjevdan” or “Djuren”. While the central location for celebration of Djurdjevdan was held 6 May at Vlaska clearing near Vraniste village, celebrations continued every day for a week in different locations around Kosovo’s Gora region.

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ST GEORGE’S DAY IN SHISHTAVEC, ALBANIA

May 06, 2022

Gorani people inhabit villages in the mountainous area called Gora which is today divided among Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo. While the majority of them inhabits Kosovo’s southernmost region, there are nine Gorani-inhabited villages in Albania of which Shishtavec is the largest one. It came a result of the decision of Conference of Ambassadors from 1925, when this region was divided between Albania and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Despite the decades of isolation from the rest of Gorani community, inhabitants of Shishtavec and surrounding villages kept their customs, including the celebration of Saint George’s Day. Celebration starts with horse racing in the morning and continues until the evening with traditional music and national dances.

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LAST DAYS OF RAMADAN IN SARAJEVO

April 22, 2022

There is a special atmosphere in town during the holy month Ramadan. Its last days are especially charming, as Eid is approaching. Every day, a cannon is traditionally fired from the Yellow Fortress above the Old town, marking the end of all-day long fasting for Muslims. The firing of the cannon during Ramadan which was abandoned during the time of the communist regime is a tradition that stretches back a few hundred years. Later on, I was invited to an iftar feast at the nearby Naqshbandi teqqe.

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POMAK WEDDING IN RIBNOVO, BULGARIA

February 30, 2022

Ribnovo, a remote village in Rhodope Mountains today remains the only place where the traditional wedding ceremonies of Bulgarian Pomak minority are still practiced. They take place every winter, which is condidered as the wedding season. The culmination of the wedding comes at the end of the second day with the “gelina” or the painting of the bride’s face. The bride is taken to a room where only women can enter. An elderly woman bends over her and gently covers her face with a layer of white cream so thick that the girl’s features become indecipherable and finally sticks dozens of shiny sequins to her brows, cheeks and forehead, creating elaborate designs. The bride is then veiled and taken out of the room to meet her future husband and to distribute her family’s presents to the guests.

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