Carnivals In Macedonia

Vevcani Carnival is quite a well-known event that happens only once a year and celebrates the arrival of the New Year following the Julian (old) calendar. The carnival itself is a blend of pagan and modern celebrations. Due to the characteristics of Vevchani’s archaic and unique masks, this Carnival differs from the rest of its kind. The trademarks of the carnival are the three traditional masks: The Bride, The Groom and Dumb August. People of Vevcani prepare their masks in great secrecy and nobody is spared from criticism: politicians, public figures, or actual events from Macedonia or the rest of the World are all ripe topics for ridicule through elaborate masks and floats. The Carnival attracts thousands of visitors each year and is enriched with cultural content, and of course with a large quantity of rakiya (grape brandy) and wine. The Carnival has a spectacular end, when all the masks are burned in a gigantic open fire at the center of the village… During the carnival, Vevcani people from all around the world travel back to their village, because it is said “wherever you are – be back home for Christmas… and the Carnival!”

Interestingly enough, even though it is so close to the village of Vevcani the carnival in the village of Kuratica creates a completely different atmosphere from the one in Vevchani. “One mountain away, but one universe as well,” as it is said. Here you are offered a mask and you can be part of the carnival, which makes all the difference. A great opportunity to feel the past of the traditions of the village, and for once at least, try to cast the evil spirits which, according to belief, are present in the unbaptized days, between when Jesus was born, and when was baptized (according to the Julian calendar the 7th of January is Orthodox Christmas, and the 19th is Epiphany, or the baptism.) This carnival has a growing number of attendees, but will hopefully stay small and secret feeling.