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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Фолклорот на Македонија-Џорџ Фредерик Абот

Macedonian Folklore

George Frederick Abbott

Караконџули и Василица (Нова Година)



The period of Twelve Days, from the Nativity to the Epiphany , is perhaps the most prolific in superstitious lore and practice presented by the Macedonian folk-calendar. It is during this season that the natural horrorsof winter are heightened by the mysterious beings known and dreaded under the name of Karkantzari or Skatsantzari (Other forms of the name, current in various parts of Greece, are Ka.\rjKavTffapos, /caX/cdrcrapos, \vKOKdvT<rapos, Ko\'r]KdvT<rapos etc. Some spell it with i instead of T; ; but there is little choice as both vowels are pronounced alike, and the spelling cannot be determined until the derivation is discovered. This last has for many years afforded matter for speculation to the ingenious. The most plausible of all the etymologies suggested is Bernhard Schmidt's (Das Volksleben der Neugriechen, pp. 142 foil.). He derives the Greek from the Albanian Karkandsoli, which in its turn comes from the Turkish Kara (= black) -kond- jolos ( = loup-garou). But he does not state whether the Turks actually call the monsters by that name, or whether they believe in them at all. For details concerning the nature and attributes of these singular beings, as conceived by the Greeks of the South, see Rennell Eodd, The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, pp. 197 foil.; W. H. D. Eouse, Folklore from the Southern Sporades in Folk-Lore, June 1899, pp. 174 foil. ; G. Georgeakis et L<$on Pincau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, p. 349. The Macedonian conception is substantially the same)
 These malicious fiends are wont to haunt the peasant's home and make his life well-nigh unbearable. The belief prevails that those who have a ' light ' guardian angel are from Christmas till Twelfth Day when " the waters are blessed by the baptism "  transformed into monsters. Their nails suddenly grow to an abnormal length, they turn red in the face, their eyes become bloodshot and wild, their noses and mouths excrete. In this hideous guise they roam from house to house at night, knocking at the doors. Should they be refused admittance, they climb down through the chimney and terrify the inmates by pinching, worrying and defiling them in their sleep. The only way to escape from these torturers is to seize and bind them with a straw-rope . Those who possess no such rope, or do not feel equal to the task, take care to retire to their dwellings before dark and to close their doors hermetically, letting the diabolical creatures continue knocking until"The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day ; and at his warning,
Th' extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine."
 During the day the Karkantzari resume their ordinary human shapes. Millers for some reason or other perhaps for their notorious inability to resist the insidious advice of the hopper, " tak' it ; tak' it " seem to be the favourite victims of the unclean monsters. The following characteristic tale throws light on the kind of treatment which millers may expect at the hands of the Karkantzari.
A miller was one evening riding home from his mill, between two sacks of flour. Suddenly he espied a party of Karkantzari a little way off on the road, and, seized with fear, he crouched on the pack-saddle. The enemy soon caught him up and set about cudgelling him without mercy, though not without some sense of humour, accompanying each blow with the exclamation : " Here goes to the one sack, here to the other, and here to the load between. The owner where is he ?"
During the period when the Karkantzari are believed to be loose no marriage is solemnized.
All the three great feasts, which are included in the Twelve Days, are signalized by efforts towards the extinction of these malevolent demons. In some districts it is the custom on Christmas Eve ' to burn ' the Karkantzari. Early at dawn faggots of holm-oak  are lighted and cast out into the streets. In other places, notably at Melenik, 'they scald'the Karkantzari to death on New Year's Eve. This is done in the following curious manner.The housewife prepares a number of cakes, called \a\ayKiBta(elsewhere \a\a<yfcirai,$ or \ovKovfj,dBes), which she fries in a pan, assisted by her children. While this is going on within the cottage, the goodman dressed in a fur coat, wrong side out, stands outside the door dancing and singing:
"I am a Skantzos, even as thou art one,
Come then, let us dance together
And let us moisten the pastry."
He continues romping and singing until he hears the hissing of the syrup, as it is poured over the pancakes, and then he opens the door and goes in.
In other districts again faggots are collected during the whole of the Twelve Days and laid up by the hearth. On Epiphany Eve, fire is set to them in order that the Karkantzari, who are supposed to be lurking beneath the ashes, may perish.But the orthodox way of getting rid of the demons is to wait till the parish priest comes round followed by a verger or a boy, carrying a copper vessel filled with holy water.
In this water the priest dips a cross, decorated with sprigs of basil, and therewith sprinkles the rooms, chanting a canticle appropriate to the day. The ceremony is the coup de grace for the Karkantzari, who after this blow vanish completely, not to re-appear till next year.
The Karkantzari seem to be a species of werewolves, akin to the Wild Boar and the Vrykolakas, to be described hereafter, and the name , by which they are known in some parts of Southern Greece, leaves little doubt that around them still clings a shred of the ancient belief in lycanthropy.
At evenfall the village boys form parties and go about knocking at the doors of the cottages with sticks, shouting ' Kolianda ! Kolianda ! ' and receiving presents. Both the custom and the stick are named after this cry, which, like its variants to be noticed in the sequel, is an adaptation of the Roman and Byzantine term Kalendae.
 (In Southern Greece the name retains more of its original form (Kd\avda) and is applied to the Christmas carols. The Eussians also call the Christmas festival Kolydda, and the songs sung on Christmas Eve Kolyadki, a word apparently introduced into Slavonic countries, along with the Christian religion, from Constantinople)
Incense is burnt before supper, a chief item of which is the cake known as ' Christ's Cake ' . In Southern Greece it is also the custom to make on this day a special kind of flat loaves with a cross drawn on the top and called ' Christ's Loaves ' . The cloth is not removed from the table ; but everything is left as it is, in the belief that " Christ will come and eat " during the night. A log is left burning in the hearth, intended to ward off the Karkantzari.
 In Thessaly an old shoe is also thrown into the fire : the smoke  and the smell of burnt leather being considered offensive to the nostrils of these fiends. With the custom of leaving the cloth on the table and aburning log in the hearth may be compared the similar observance in Brittany and other parts of Western Europe on the eve of All Souls' Day, the theory in those countries being that the souls of the departed will come and partake of the supper and warm themselves at the fire, while their living relatives are in bed.
 On Christmas morning, on their way back from church,the peasants each pick up a stone which they deposit in the hearth-corner , allowing it to remain there till Twelfth Day, when it is thrown away. An analogous customprevails on New Year's Day in some of the islands of the Aegean as, for instance, Chios. When the family return home from morning service, the father picks up a stone which he leaves in the yard, with the wish that the New Year may bring with it " as much gold as is the weight of the stone."He also, on entering into the house at the head of his family, takes a pomegranate out of his pocket and dashes it upon the ground. On the symbolic significance ascribed to this fruit I will comment later.

Far more interesting and suggestive are the customs connected with the ' First of the Year ' , or St Basil's Day .
On the Eve every household is provided with ' St Basil's Cake ' , in which is concealed a silver coin and a cross made of green twigs. This cake which corresponds to our Ring-cakes of Twelfth Night, but in taste is very much like ordinary short-bread occupies the post of honour on the supper table. A candle is lighted by the housewife, who also fumigates with frankincense first the table and then every part of the dwelling. This ceremony over, the family take their seats on cushions round the table. The father and the mother seize the cake between them and break it into two pieces, which are again subdivided by the head of the family in'to shares. The first portion is destined for St Basil, the Holy Virgin, or the patron saint whose icon is in the house. The second stands for the house itself. The third for the cattle and domestic animals belonging thereto. The fourth for the inanimate property, and the rest for each member of the household according to age. Each portion is successively dipped in a cup of wine, with an appropriate preface, e.g." This is for our grandfather, St Basil"  and so forth .He who finds the cross or the coin in his share of the cake is considered lucky, and whatever he undertakes to do during the coming year is sure to prosper. The money is looked upon as sacred and is devoted to the purchase of a votive taper. The custom of hiding a ring, a coin, or a bean in a cake about the time of the New Year is prevalent in many nations, our own included. According to mythologists the ring represents the sun, hidden and, as it were, buried by wintry storms and clouds an ingenious theory, and quite as plausible as most mythological interpretations of custom.
 Supper over, the table is removed to a corner of the room, with all the remnants of the feast left upon it, that " St Basil may come and partake thereof." The fire is also kept up throughout the night. The rest of the evening is spent in games among which Divination holds a prominent position.

As the household sit round the hearth, some one lays upon the hot cinders a pair of wild olive leaves , mentally allotting each of them to a youth and a maid. If the leaves crumple up and draw near each other, the on- lookers conclude that the two young people represented thereby love each other dearly, the reverse, if the leaves recoil apart. If both leaves, instead of shrinking, flare up and are utterly consumed, that is a sign that the couple are excessively fond of each other. 2 This is the form of the game at Liakkovikia. 3 In other districts, in lieu of leaves, they use the buds of a cornel- branch , and name the lad and lass to each particular pair. If either of the two buds bursts and jumps up, it is taken as a proof that the person for whom it stands is enamoured of the other. Should they both burst and jump, the feeling is reciprocated, the reverse being augured if the buds remain impassive.

It is hardly necessary to remind the English, and still less the Scotch reader, of the similar charm of ' burning the nuts practised in the North on the eve or vigil of All Saints' Day, and made classical by Burns's poem of Halloween. The custom seems to be a relic of Roman superstition. On New Year's Day (Kal. Jan.) the Romans took omens from pistils of the saffron plant, as Ovid, so rich in folk-lore, informs us :
 Cernis, odoratis ut luceat ignibus aether,
Et sonet accensis spica Cilissa focis ?*
 'Guesses' or 'divinings' (Gadaniya) of various kinds are also popular among the Russians, and are especially in vogue during the evenings of the Twelve Days (Svyatki). 2

Maidens, not satisfied with this method of divination which, besides being vague, labours under the disadvantage of being regarded more or less in the light of a mere frivolous pastime, have recourse to a much more serious and convincing expedient. They steal a morsel of St Basil's Cake and conceal it in their bosom, taking good care not to be seen by any one. On going to bed they say " St Basil, worker of wonders, grant that what-ever is my destiny may appear to-night" . They then put the morsel under their pillow and go to sleep in the certainty of dreaming a true dream.
An aged lady, and a firm believer, related to me some of her own early experiences in St Basil's dreamland. She had in her youth been engaged to be married to a man of whom she was extremely fond. On the Eve of St Basil's Feast she performed the ceremony described above. She had scarcely fallen asleep when her lover appeared to her, pale of face and sad of mien. Another youth, whom she had never seen in the flesh, stood behind her betrothed and smiled at her over his shoulder. Frightened at the apparition she awoke. Then she made the sign of the cross, whispering " far be the evil from here!" , and relapsed into sleep. Where upon a second vision, more dreadful than the first, visited her.A young man of supernatural beauty stood before her, floating as it were in the air at a height of some three feet from the ground. He was arrayed in a snow-white kilt and held a canary in either hand. He strangled the one bird and presented the other to her. 1 And the fair maid awoke, and,behold, it was a dream. But none the less her ' spirit was troubled' like Pharaoh's under similar circumstances. And well might it be. For not long after her lover died, and in course of time she was wooed and won by the strange youth who smiled at her in her sleep, and whom she recognizedimmediately on seeing him in real life.
 The superstition is well-known in England. Girls who wish to see their future husbands are in the habit of placing a piece of wedding-cake under their pillows "and extracting nuptial dreams therefrom," as Mr Meredith would say.
In some parts of Macedonia, as Shatista, on New Year's Eve men or boys armed with bells (bibousaria) go about making the night hideous, presumably with a view to frightening evil spirits away. A similar custom in other districts prevails on New Year's Day itself. Early in the morning, when the church bells are ringing for divine service, groups of lads run up and down the streets with sticks or clubs in their hands and knock the people up, crying : " Health and joy to ye ! May St Basil bring plenty of wheat, plenty of barley, and plenty of childrento ye ! " , and persist in doing so until they have received a gift : rolls, nuts, dry figs etc., which they deposit in a basket or bag carried for the purpose. A refusal to reward these noisy well-wishers brings upon the inmates of the house the reverse of a blessing.
In some districts the sticks are replaced by green boughs of the cornel or the olive-tree, with which the boys touch all whom they meet, shouting, " Soorva ! Soorva I (Bulgarian for * boughs '), May I salute thee next year also with the soorva." Those who are thus saluted pay tribute in coin or kind.
Периодот од дванаесет дена, од Христовото раѓање(Божик) до Водици, можеби најмногу изобилува со суеверие и суеверни ритуали во македонскиот фолк-календар.Токму во текот на оваа сезона, природните ужаси на зимата се зголемуваат од страна на мистериозни суштества познати и страшни под името Карканѕали или Скацанѕари (други форми на името,постојат во различни делови на Грција, како на пример се Карканѕапос, Капудрапос,Кокдутрапос, Коркудрапос , итн. Некои го пишуваат со И наместо со T;, но има голем избор и како самогласки се изговараат слично, и правописот не може да се утврди додека деривацијата не е откриена.Последнава веќе многу години е прашање на шпекулација меѓу научниците.Најверодостојна етимологија од сите предложи Бернард Шмит((Das Volksleben der Neugriechen, pp. 142 foil.) ).
Тој го извлекува грчкиот збор од од албанското Karkandsoli, кое пак доаѓа од турскиот збор Каrа(=црна)-kond-jolos (=врколак).Но, тој не наведува дали Турците всушност имале чудовишта со тоа име, или дали тие воошто верувале во нив. За повеќе детали во врска со природата и атрибутите на овие поединечни суштества, како замислен од страна на Грците на југ, види Rennell Eodd, The Customs and Lore of Modern Greece, pp. 197 foil.; W. H. D. Eouse, Folklore from the Southern Sporades in Folk-Lore, June 1899, pp. 174 foil. ; G. Georgeakis et L<$on Pincau, Le Folk-Lore de Lesbos, p. 349.) Македонската концепција во основа е иста.
Овие малициозни суштества имаат обичај да ги прогонуваат домаовите на селаните и нивниот живот го прави скоро неподнослив.Преовладува мислењето дека оние кои имаат"светлосен"ангел чувар од Божиќ до Водици кога "водите се благословени со крштевање" се трансформираат во чудовишта.Нивните нокти одеднаш се зголемуваат со абнормална должина, се вцрвуваат во лицето, очите им стануваат крвави и диви , а од носот и устата им излегува секрет.
Во ваква грозна преобразеност тие скитаат од куќа до куќа во текот на ноќта и тропаат на вратите.Ако бидат одбиени да влезат, тие се спуштаат низ оџакот и ги заплашуваат домашните со стискање, загрижување и изживување врз нив во сон.Единствениот начин да се избега од овие мачители е да се фатат и да се врзат со сламено јаже.Оние кои поседуваат такви јажиња, или не се чувствуваат кадарни за задачата, гледаат да се затворат во своите живеалишта пред мракот и да ги затворат своите врати херметички,пуштајќи ги ѓаволските суштества да продолжат да тропаат додека:
Петелот ,кој е труба на утрото

со своето високо пискотливо грло

не го разбуди богот на денот,и на неговиот повик

чудните и блудни духови се повлекуваат

во своите дувла„

Во текот на денот Караконџулите си ја земаат обичната човечка форма. Воденичарите поради некоја причина можеби поради нивната позната неспособност неможноста да се спротивстават на подмолниот совет на воденичното тркало,"Така-така;Така-така"се чини дека се омилени жртви на нечистите чудовишта.

Следнава карактеристична приказна фрла светлина врз видот на третманот кој воденичарите може да се очекува во рацете на караконџулите.
Некој воденичар една вечер јавал накај дома од неговата воденица,помеѓу две вреќи со брашно.Одеднаш тој забележал еден караконџул малку подалеку од патот и, обземен од страв, тој се стуткал на седлото. Непријателот наскоро го фатил и почнал да го тепа со стап безмилост, иако не без извесна смисла за хумор, придружувајќи го секој удар со извикот:"Еве еден за едната вреќа,еве еден за другата,еве еден на товаров на средината.А стопанот каде е?"
Се верува дека во периодот кога караконџулите се на слобода не треба да се склучува брак.

Сите три големи празници, кои се вклучени во дванаесетте дена, се обележени со напорите да се истребат овие злобни демони.Во некои области е обичај на Бадник "да горат" караконџули.

Рано во мугрите црви од дабово дрво се палат и се исфрлаат на улица. На други места, особено во Мелник "тие го попаруваат караконџулот до смрт на новогодишната ноќ. Ова се прави на следниот интересен начин .Домаќинката подготвува голем број на колачи, наречен ?(на друго место?или?), кои ги пржи во тава, со помош на своите деца.Додека ова се случува внатре во колибата ,кумот облечен во крзнено палто, стои надвор од вратата танцувајќи и пеејќи:

„Јас сум Сканџос,како тебе
Дојди да играме заедно
И да го натопиме тестото„

Тој продолжува да скока и да пее додека не го слушне звукот на вриењето на шербетот што се истура врз колачите, и тогаш тој ја отвора вратата и влегува внатре.

Во други области се собираат црви за време на сите дванаесет дена и се ставаат на огништето.Вечерта на Водици ,се палат црвите за караконџулите за кои се верува дека ѕиркаат од пепелта,да исчезнат..Но најправилен начин да се ослободите од демоните е да почекате да дојде парохискиот свештеник следен од клисарот или некое дете и да донесе бакарен сад со осветена вода.
Вооваа вода на свештеникот потопува крст ,украсен со гранчиња босилок,и со него ги прска собите , пеејќи молитва соодветна на денот.Оваа церемонија е смртоносен удар за караконџулите кои потоа сосема исчезнуваат, и не се појавуваат се до следната година.

Караконџулите се врколаци, сродни на дивата свиња или Врколак, какошто се опишани овде и името,според кое тие се познати во некои делови од јужна Грција, остава мал сомнеж дека околу нив се уште има траг на античката ликантропија. 

Вечерта селските момчиња прават групи и тропаат на вратите на куќите со стапови, викајќи "Колианда!Колианда!(Кољада,Кољада) и добиваат подароци.Обичајот и стапот се именувани по овој извик, кој, како и сите негови варијанти наброени во продолжение е адаптација на римскиот и византиски термин Календи-Kalendae.
 (Во јужна Грција името ја задржува повеќе својата оригинална форма (Клавада) и се применува во божиќни песни. Во Еусија, исто така,Божиќната прослава се нарекува Кољада,и се пеат песни на бадник-Кољадки , збор очигледно воведен во словенските земји , заедно со христијанската религија, од Константинопол)

Темјанот се пали вечерата,на која главно јадење е колачот , познат како "Христов колач„

Во јужна Грција исто така е обичај да се направи на овој ден посебен вид леб со крст нацртан на врвот и се вика „леб на Христос„.Масата не се раскрева, се се остава како што е, во верување дека "Христос ќе дојде и ќе вечера" во текот на ноќта. Едно дрво се остава да гори во огништето, со намера да ја варди куќата од караконџулите.
 Во Тесалија во огнот се фрла стар чевел и чадот и мирисот на изгорена кожа се смета за навредлив за ноздрите на овие демони. Обичајот да се остава постелена масата и да гори дрво во огништето може да се спореди со слични обичаи во Британија а и другите делови од Западна Европа во пресрет на Денот на сите мртви, при што овие земји се верува дека душите на умрените блиски доаѓаат на вечера и се греат на огнот, додека нивните живи роднини се во кревет.

Додека целото домаќинство седи крај огништето,некој става на жарот пар лисја од дива маслинка,давајќи им улога на некоја мома и момче .Ако лисјата се соберат и се приближат еден кон друг ,замислените млади луѓе ќе се засакаат,а аако се раздвојат гледачите заклучуваат дека ќе се случи обратното.Ако двата листа наместо да се соберат,се запалат во пламен ,тоа е знак дека момчето и девојката се многу вљубени еден во друг.(Оваа игра се игра во Лаковикија,во други области се користат зрна пченка кои се именуваат со имињата на момчето и девојката.Ако испукаат и скокнат значи дека тој што скокнал е вљубен во другиот.Ако двете распукаат,чувството е заедничко.А ако не испукаат значи дека се рамнодушни едниот кон другиот или двајцата еден кон друг.)

Не треба да го потсетуваме англискиот или шкотскиот читател за сличната маѓија на горење ореви присутна на Северот вечерта на Денот на сите светци,опеана како класика во поемата на Брнс-Ноќ на вештерките.Обичајот изгледа е остаток од римските суеверија.вечерта на Нова Година (јануарски календи) Римјаните земале пупка од шафран како што вели Овидиј:
"Предвидување" или "гатање (Гаданија) од различни видови се исто така популарни меѓу Русите, и особено се во мода во текот на вечерните часови на Дванаесет дена (Свјатки). 

Девојки, кои не се задоволни со овој метод на гатање, кој покрај тоа што е нејасен, и како недостаток му се смета што е повеќе или помалку само несериозно поминување на времето, се обраќаат за помош на многу посериозни и поубедливи гатања.Тие крадат малку од колачот за Свети Василиј и го кријат во своите пазуви, внимавајќи добро да не ги види некој. Пред да си легнат на спиење тие велат "Свети Василиј, чудотворец, направи мојата судбинада ми се појави ноќва„ .Тие потоа го ставаат на ставам парченцето под перница и одат да спијат сигурни дека ќе го сонуваат вистинскиот сон.

Една возрасна дама, голем верник, ми го раскажа своето искуство во врска со сонот за Свети Василиј.Таа во својата младост била ветена на некој човек во кого била многу вљубена.Вечерта на Василица го направила погоре опишаниот обичај.Само што заспала .кога нејзиниот љубовник и се јавил, бел во лицето и се тажен израз.Друг младич, кој таа никогаш не беше го видела претходно, стоел зад него и и се насмевнувал преку неговото рамо.Исплашена во сонот таа се разбудила.Потоа се прекрстила,и прошепотила "далеку да биде злото!"И повторно заспала.Тогаш и се јавила нова визија поужасна од првата.Млад човек со натприродна убавина застанал пред неа, лебдејќи во воздухот на висина од околу три метри од земјата.Тој бил облечен во снежно бела ајта(фустанела) и држел канаринци во обете раце.Тој ја задавил едната птица и и ја подал другата..Девојката се разбудила и сфатила дека сонувала.Но, ништо помалку нејзиниот "дух бил вознемирен" како кај фараонот под слични околности.И така биднало.Недолго потоа нејзиниот љубовник умрел, и во текот на времето таа била побарана од младичот кој и се насмевнувал во сонот и кого таа го препознала веднаш штом го видела во реалниот живот.  
 Ова суеверие е добро познато во Англија.Девојките кои сакаат да ги видат своите идни мажи ставаат парче од свадбена торта под перниците„и сонуваат свадбени соништа„ како што би рекол Г-дин Мередит.
Во некои делови на Македонија,како во Шатишта ,вечерта на Нова Година момчиња наоружени со ѕвончиња(бубусарија) одат наоколу правејќи ја ноќта неподнослива,веројатно со намера да се исплашат злите духови.Сличен обичај постои и на првиот ден од Новата година.Рано наутро кога црковните ѕвона ѕвонат за служба ,група момчиња трча нагоре надолу по улиците со стапови во рацете и тропа по вратите викајќи "Здравје и радост!Нека ви донесе Свети Василиј многу пченица,многу јачмен,и многу деца", и прават така се додека не добијат подарок:пита, ореви,суви смокви итн, кои тие ги ставаат во кошница или торба која ја носат за таа намена.Одбивањето да се наградат овие гласни посакувачи на добро на домаќинството му носи обратно од благослов.
Во некои области стаповите се менуваат со зелени гранки на ? Или маслинка со кои момчињата ги допираат сите кои минуваат и извикуваат "Сурва„Сурва„(бугарски за гранка), и следната година да те поздравам со сурва„.Кога ваќа ќе поздрават добиваат награда во пари или слично.

(The green bough is probably an emblem of summer fruit fulness and life, as contrasted with the deathly barrenness of winter.  But the noises and the hunting with clubs may more plausibly be ascribed to the belief in the ' ethereal materiality ' of spirits and be compared to analogous practices current among savage races : the Australians who " annually followers behind him, armed with a good stock of potsherds. When the door is opened the hero sings :

A-shrovin, a-shrovin,

I be come a-shrovin;

A piece of bread, a piece of cheese,

A bit of your fat bacon,

Or a dish of dough-nuts,

All of your own making, etc.

Sometimes he gets a bit of bread and cheese, and at some houses he is told to be gone ; in which latter case, he calls up his followers to send their missiles in a rattling broadside against the door."

With these celebrations: the procession of the boys, their green boughs,their demand for presents, and their imprecations against those who refuse, we may compare the May Day festivities in Western Europe, of which Mannhardt,quoted by Mr Frazer, says: "These begging processions with May-trees or May-boughs from door to door had everywhere originally a serious and, so to speak, sacramental significance ; people really believed that the god of growth was present unseen in the bough." "In other words, the mummer was regarded not as an image but as an actual representative of the spirit of vegetation ; hence the wish expressed by the attendants on the May-rose and the May-tree that those who refuse them gifts of eggs, bacon, and so forth, may have no share in the blessing which it is in the power of the itinerant spirit to bestow." The Golden Bough, vol. i. p. 212. The same, or a closely similar explanation might be extended to the begging or "gooding" processions of the 1st of March, of the Feast of Lazarus, and of Palm Sunday, already noticed, as well as to that of the Feast of St John (Jan. 7th) to be described in the sequel. They all have some of the main characteristics in common, though the " bough" does not figure in all of them)

After service are exchanged the customary wishes " For many years" , and the boys, holding olive-branches in their hands, visit the various houses, singing ' The Ballad of St Basil '  a somewhat inconsequential composition, of which the following is an example.

First of the month, and first of the year ; may it prove a happy year !

St Basil is coming from Caesarea,

He is holding a picture and a book ; a book and an inkhorn.

The inkhorn wrote and the book spoke.

" my Basil, from whence art thou coming, from whence art thou

descending ? "

"From my mother I am coming, to the schoolmaster I am going."

"Stay and eat, stay and drink, stay and sing unto us."

" I arn learned in book-lore : songs I know not."

"Since thou art book-learned, recite us the alpha-beta."

He leant upon his staff to recite the alpha-beta.

And, behold ! the staff, dry though it was, put forth green twigs.

And upon its young twigs little birds were singing,

And beneath, at its young roots, springs were rippling,

And the partridges repaired thither to drink with the little birds,

And all winged things, even the young doves,

They fill their claws with water, arid their wings with musk,

And they sprinkle our lord, may his years be many !

(These carols in some places are sung by lantern-bearing boys on the eve. The custom corresponds to the practice of Russian boys who on New Year's Eve "go about from house to house scattering grain of different kinds, but chiefly oats, singing Ovsenevuiya Pyesni" It is also interesting to note that the presents which the singers receive are considered by Russian mythologists as "standing in lieu of the old contributions towards a sacrifice to the gods." )
In older days parallel customs were current in Scotland and the north of England. But instead of olive-boughs the visitors used to carry round from house to house the Wassail bowl adorned with ribbons, wishing the inhabitants a prosperous year, and begging for the wherewithal to fill it. The songs also find their counterparts in the New Year carols of north Britain.
The dry figs and other sweet things, symbols of happiness, which are given to the boys on this day, might perhaps be traced to the Roman New- Year's gifts. )
The 2nd of January.
Early in the morning it is the custom in some districts of Macedonia to carry water from the fountain without speaking '" silent water " and to pour it out across the yard and up the stairs, expressing by this symbol the wish that the life of the family during the new year may run as smoothly as the water flows. The Highlanders also in days gone by indulged in mysterious water drawn over-night in solemn silence, of which all the members of the household drank, and with which they were sprinkled, in order to fortify themselves against the attacks of witches and demons during the ensuing year. Another superstitious custom belonging to this day is due to the belief of the Macedonians in the good or ill influence of the ' first foot.' He or she who enters a house first is supposed to bring into it good or bad luck for the whole twelvemonth.

This belief gives rise to a curious observance. The visitor before crossing the threshold picks up a stone token of strength, or a green twig emblem of health and fruitfulness, and lays it on the hearth. He also brings with him some grains of salt which he casts into the flames, and then, squatting by the fire-side, wishes his hosts " a prosperous year,a plentiful crop, and many blessings" . Then, as the grains of salt burstand crackle in the fire, he utters the following quaint formula :

"As I am sitting, even so may sit the hen and warm the

eggs. As this salt splits, even so may split the eggs of the

clucking hen and the chickens come forth "

In some villages, like Pravi, the wish takes a slightly different form : " as many sparks fly from the splitting salt, so many chickens may be hatched by the brooding hen." In consistency and realistic vividness it would not be easy to match these acts of folk symbolism.The salt cast into the flames may perhaps have originally been meant as a sacrifice to the ancestral spirits of the family, and may be a survival of the mica salis, offered by the Romans to the deified shades of the dead during the feast of the Parentalia?
The ceremony is known as TroSdp/ciaa-jjia. The prosperity or adversity of the household through the year is attributed to the lucky or unlucky ' footing ' of the visitor who was the first ' to set foot '  within the house. It is well for those who believe themselves cursed with an unlucky foot to refrain from visiting on this day.
The idea is as old as the Book of Genesis and possibly derived thence. Jacob in setting forth the blessings which accrued to his uncle Laban since he joined his household, lays stress on the good luck due to him : " the Lord hath blessed thee since my coming" There is no evidence that the ancient Greeks entertained a like superstition, unless the epithet ' fair footed ' , mentioned by Suidas, is taken to mean "with good, or auspicious feet," an interpretation perfectly possible, but hardly sufficient by itself to establish the prevalence of a superstition.
Nor is the dread of comers of ill omen confined to this particular day, though, of course, the evil is most strictly guarded against at the beginning of the new year. The same omen is taken from every visitor, new-comer, guest or servant, throughout the year. It is especially observed in the case of a newly-married couple. If the man's affairs take an exceptionally prosperous turn, it is said that the bride " has brought him good luck", and she is henceforth regarded as a ' lucky woman '. Ananalogous belief attaches to the 'first handing' . Some persons are gifted with a good hand, others with an evil one , and a tradesman construes the success or failure that attends his business during the day into the good or evil influence of his first customer in the morning. Further, a sponsor is said to have an ' unlucky hand ' if two of the children which he has helped to christen die in succession. A cook is also said to possess a ' nice ' or a * nasty hand ' according to the quality of his dishes.
On the Eve of the Epiphany a general cleaning is carried on in every house. The ashes, which accumulated in the hearth during the Twelve Days, are swept away and along with them the Karkantzari, who are believed to be hiding there. In the evening a special ' Epiphany-Cake ' , corresponding to the old English Twelfth-Cake, is prepared.
" Silly unidea'd girls " sit up all night in the fond, though not unromantic, hope of seeing " the heavens open " (dvotyovv ra ovpdvta). This event is expected to take place at dawn, and it is held that all wishes uttered at that propitious moment will be instantly realized.
With this Christian superstition may be compared a Mohammedan practice. The followers of the Prophet on the 27th of Ramazan observe what they call the ' Night of Power ' (Leil-ul-Kadr), the night which "is worth more than a thousand months." That night, as well as all the four nights from the 26th to the 29th of the month, is spent in prayer, and the belief prevails that at a certain, though unknown, moment during that night " all the requests of those who are found worshipping are granted" 1 a belief based on the saying of the Koran that, " in that night descend the angels and the spirit by permission of their Lord, carrying His orders in every matter.

It is peace till the rising of the dawn."
One is strongly tempted by the close similarity of the two customs to suspect that the one is an offshoot of the other a temptation rendered stronger by the proximity in which Moham- medans and Christians have lived in Macedonia for so many centuries. But this hypothesis is precluded by the fact that the same, or closely analogous, superstitions exist in lands never trodden by Mohammedan foot. In Russia the Twelve or, as they are there termed, Holy Evenings are by the rustic mind associated with all sorts of wonderful revelations : hidden treasures are disclosed during that period, the new-born Divinity comes down from heaven and wanders about on earth, and, above all, at midnight on the eve of Christmas and the Epiphany " the heavenly doors are thrown open ; the radiant realms of Paradise, in which the Sun dwells, disclose their treasures ; the waters of springs and rivers become animated, turn into wine, and receive a healing efficacy ; the trees put forth blossoms, and golden fruits ripen upon their boughs/' 1

These ideas are also common among Teutonic races. It will, therefore, be seen that the roots of the belief entertained by the Christians of Macedonia lie too deep to be directly connected with the similar belief held by their Mohammedan neighbours.

The dawn of the Feast itself is in some districts hailed by the cries of the boys, who run about the streets shouting " Eo ! Eo !" After divine service the same boys go round from house to house singing. But the chief observance on this day is the one described below. After matins it is the custom handed down from immemorial antiquity to thrust some one into the water : the sea or the river, if the village happens to be situated near one or the other, or, if too far from either, into a pond or a well. He who is singled out to play the principal part in the performance afterwards receives a prize for his involuntary immersion. The person thus distinguished can buy himself off by paying a greater sum of money than the reward offered. He also has the right to claim that the doubtful honour should be inflicted upon the proposer instead a suggestion acted upon, unless the latter bids higher for exemption. The one who is finally doused, on emerging from the water sprinkles the bystanders, and they all join in a banquet got up with the prize money.

This custom in Southern Greece, under the name of 'Diving for the cross,' is invested with a quasi-religious character, the cross being generally thrown into the water with much pomp and circumstance by the officiating priest or bishop at the close of morning mass. But in either case, it seems to have its remote origin in the " healing efficacy " and other virtues attributed to the waters at this time of year an idea, like so many others, adopted by Christianity, but still retaining enough of its primitive character to guide the student to its pre Christian source. It may be worth while to add that in one case, in Western Macedonia, I heard the well, used as the scene of the performance, called * the Well of the Drakos ' . If this was not a simple coincidence, it may be taken as a hint obscure indeed, but not utterly valueless that perhaps in this ceremony lurks a relic of an old human sacrifice to the Spirit of the Waters.

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