Slavs came in Macedonia with their polytheistic religion, with their customs that differ of those of indigenous and Christians. The Slavs who populated Macedonia rarely recognized the Jesus’s name; they served to the Sun, to the Moon, and sometimes to other stars. Slavonic folk rare evidence shows Slavs belief in werewolves, or nymphs.
Greek historian Herodotus refers to carnival festivals as typical for old Slavs. On those tests, groups of young men walked in the villages with masks. It is probably unknown if the Carnival in Vevcani has any connection to Slavic who populated Macedonia in the past. Some of the rituals and date of occurrence could point to the linkages to the Slavic pagan rituals.
As villagers say, rituals of carnival in Vevcani occurred in the late 6th century, and that the Carnival survived through the 1.400-year period to rise in the modern version. However, the tradition is that men are those of the village houses who maskedin several typical masksthat fight against the evil spirits. Although, Vevcani residents celebrate the Carnival on the time when Orthodox celebrate New Year according to the Gregorian calendar, and that could be an influence of the Christianity over the pagan rituals of the past.
After the rapid conversion to the Christianity of Slavic population, those people witnessed changes of many rules. Obviously, with rare written evidence for Slavic population before the invention of Cyrillic alphabet, some of those possible pagan elements survive in the modern times too.
In the present day, people face other issues in their lives when not devoted to the carnival. This video is a glimpse of their achievements.
Vevcani is a village and municipality in Macedonia located near Ohrid and Struga.
© Aleksandra Dukovska