An afternoon in Ohrid

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Carnival in Vevchani

Carnival time in Vevchani: Last Wednesday I headed down to Ohrid to meet friends and go to Vevchani for its famous Old New Year's Eve parade. We got there early and walked up to the springs and hills there - it is a beautiful town with lots of hiking trails leading out of it. It was hard not to take off! But we had bigger things on our agenda! We walked around town and heard a party going on out on a plaza and decided to join. They welcomed us with glasses of rakija and wine - only later did we realize that it was the party for the dignitaries and press. But a band was walking aroung and people were dancing. A very nice old man with no teeth pulled me into the dance line and I danced the Oro with them and later danced with the monster whose picture is above- it's not easy to drink with a mask on! They had a lovely buffet with traditional food that was very delicious!
The parade is interesting. Everyone dresses up as a fear - there are lots of devils around who are sweeping the fears up with cowtails and interacting with the crowd - hitting parade goers with the tails and a pig skin, too. It is a very interactive parade - if I am successful in loading the video below you can see how everyone is in the street with the participants! The Next day, Old New Year's Day, they burn all their fears and start the year fresh! Above is a picture of my friend Maggie and me with a man dressed up as the 'pope' - a Macedonian Orthodox head priest.
Above are some people getting ready for the parade. They are wearing traditional costumes and we caught them celebrating before the parade started. Celebrations abound with homemade wine and rakija following pretty freely. For New Year's Eve men traditionally build a big bonfire and celebrate into the wee hours of the night, and sure enough, when we returned to Ohrid, some neighbors of our host volunteer were out around the bonfire. I begged off, but several friends went down and had a wonderful time with them.


  1. This is great. I love the idea of dressing up as a fear and then burning it. I would have dressed up as former president bush, but I guess it could be misinterpreted to then burn the costume...