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Babiden 6-7-8 January

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The “dromeno”/performance, “Babiden”, holds its name from the former celebration of the day of the midwife which was on January 8. The main characters are the "Harapides" (Blacks), men in goat-like disguise: they wear goat pelt, goatskin headdress with custom goat horns, paint the face with soot and tie bells over the shoulders (two large ones called “batalia” at the front and four on the rear called “kypria”) which they choose carefully as to produce harmonious sounds. With fast bounces they cause loud bell sounds, to chase away evil spirits and awake the sprouting forces of nature.

On the evening of January 6 a small group of bell bearers, accompanied by music and dance, begin to wander the streets of the village, presaging the events of the day to come and they evaluate the sound of the bells (“zygiasma”). At the end of the evening they light a huge fire, which is thought to contribute to the expulsion of demonic forces of winter and disease.

On January 7, at noon, the "enlightenment" of the village starts from the square, where a procession diffuses into the community its preventive and prolific power. In a joyful spirit, they wander the neighborhoods, with predominant presence of a “Camel” (using periodically a dummy or real camel), the “Camel-driver”, the “Arapides” (blacks) and the traditional orchestra - with Macedonian lyra and “dahare” (type of a frame drum) - which is transported by truck. Followed by the “Papoudes” (meaning grandparents, who previously were only men and nowadays women also masquerade as such, dressed in local traditional male costume) and the "Gilliges" (men and women dressed in local traditional female costume). Some of the participants draw on their forehead or cheeks with soot the sign of the cross as a symbol of respect for religion. The troop stops at houses that made a vow to treat the participants of the procession.

On January 8 afternoon, the procession starts from the square and ends up in the school yard, where the reenactment of plowing and sowing and other agricultural labours are taking place, virtual acts to strengthen the force that fertilizes the earth. Afterwards a dance begins, in which the “stahtis” (“ash man”) takes the lead, a man who playfully hits with a sock full of ashes - collected from fireplaces burned during the Twelve days of Christmas- anyone who is obstructing the dance circle. The ash, as is traditionally used as a purifier and disinfectant, in the performance (“dromeno”) encloses magical preventative power against evil. The “mannequins” also take part in the performance. These are masculine figures that male participants place on their waist. The presence of the mannequins, as a metaphor of male libido, enhances the fertility forces of the earth, animals and humans.

 

 

Source: http://bellroads.gr/ 

 

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