Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Ederlezi in Shuto Orizari

Making up for blog backlogs, I can't skip one of the biggest celebration for Roms, that is Ederlezi (Djurdjevdan), celebrated on 6th of May. This day is very important for Orthodox Christians as well as Muslims. The patron of this day is St. George, who is a significant religious figure for South Slavs, whereas Muslims commemorate then the day when two Islamic prophets, al-Khidr and Elijah, met on the Earth (Hıdırellez).
The best opportunity to experience this special holiday was visiting the biggest concentration of Roms in Europe - the district of Shuto Orizari in Skopje, colloquial called - Shutka. Shutka is the setting of movies of E. Kusturica, such as Time of the Gypsies or Black cat, white cat. I'll refer to this place again in the future, I hope...
Preparations for Djurdjevdan start on 5th May, when ritually a lamb is killed and the meat is made ready. Everything happens on the gypsy yards, what is very well visible from the street and it's hard not to notice it. The streets of Shutka literally run with the blood. In every gypsy house the head of the family with dextrous cut of the knife slit the lamb's throat, with what all the curious children assist. And they aren't scared or upset because of that - on the contrary. It will be something to eat. Until the lamb is still warm, is immediately flayed and everything from the inside and outside is kept: skin, internal stuff - everything can be useful.
After a hard day of preparations some of the Gypsies start to celebrate and have fun, some of them wait until the next day. The streets of Shutka begin to be more crowdy, here and there appear some musicians with instruments who iniciate spontaneous street parties. Nevertheless, most people first two days spend at home with families, eating, drinking and listening unfortunately gypsy-turbo-folk music from CDs or computer instead of live brass orchestras...well, Gypsies follow the technology too, but the ambience is killed and the live music gives up the place to this -  played from the speakers. Do genuine Gypsies still exist in this world? I'm kidding. I wouldn't risk to put this thesis, the more so because I saw only the day of preparations and the first day of Ederlezi, and suppossedly the celebration lasts four days ;) Unluckily, I couldn't attend in all of them, because I started my six-days hitchhiking to Poland, but about that later.
Below, a photostory from Djurdjevdan, precisely from preparations. 
Warning! pictures contain graphic content! I don't reccomend for these blood-sensitive and vegetarians ;)

Skins for jackets cheaply for sale! Still warm!

 - U think this string'll endure?

Rainbow over Shutka. The holiday will be successful.

As strangers from another planet, we focused a lot of attention amongst Roma kids

Čekaj malce.

It didn't take a long time to encourage this woman

Ajde tancuvame!

Ederleeezi, ederleeezi, sa o roma daje...

My friend Awa with very likeable Gyspy couple

Hanging lambs have small, green branches put in their teeth, which
symbolise spring arrival

Unfortunately, we didn't manage to intrude to this party...

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