Tsolomari – ghosts that frighten off evil spirits in Macedonia

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Partly on the territory of Macedonia has a large number of customs, traditions and habits. Macedonians have a variety of ways to celebrate the holidays, and those that are the most common, often associated with pagan beliefs. One of these practices is associated with the period of Vasilitsa – a holiday, which is celebrated during the so-called “unbaptized days” – a period that lasts from Christmas to Epiphany, when, according to tradition, Jesus was not yet baptized and the devil tries to deceive Jesus and make him give up baptized.

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People believe that the unbaptized dead are activated days, vampires, demons, (in Macedonia, Bulgaria and Serbia, known as “karakondzuli”), witches, fairies and other creatures. During this period, they are most active and cause harm to people. To ward off evil things and situations, people perform various magical protective rituals.

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Another pagan ritual, which takes place during the Vasilitsa – Tsolomari ritual. This ceremony is held in the village near the town of Kavadarci Vegnishte. Tsolomari history began many centuries ago, when the local population fled from the Ottoman Turks.

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They left the village and went to Ozot Vegnishte territory of (name of the village comes from the word run means “escape”). The ritual begins at night, when the men Tsolomari take to the streets and begin their dance with the idea to banish evil spirits.

From the outset, the group produces noise and chaos, and their appearance is a combination of excitement and chills.

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Under Tsolomari -15 men and two of them dressed as women: a woman symbolizes the bride and one elderly woman who will serve as a symbol for a new and fruitful year. Other men wear beards and mustaches made of wool and clothing made of goat tissue.

People’s faces are painted black, with bulging eyes and mouth wide open.

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Their rituals and movements are accompanied by a loud noise from the bells of metal, which are attached to the waist. one Tsolomari Clothing weighs about twenty kilograms.

People have Tsolomari sticks or canes, which they beat on the ass of the villagers: they tease people, claiming that it will bring a healthy and successful year. This ritual lasts until the early morning, when Tsolomari walk with a donkey and collect gifts for the village houses.

Before they begin to collect the meat from the villagers, Tsolomari complete ritual dance, which is performed only when accompanied by “music” from the heavy bells.

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Tsolomari People line up in a circle, Elder tells the other dances begin with a given rhythm. Bride, groom and grandmother standing in the center of the dancing circle. Then, the bride begins to simulate sexual intercourse with the “woman,” an act that is a symbol of a fruitful year.

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