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Sacred time after emigration : a study of the Holy Mother Festival in Zavoj
chapterposted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by Mirjana LozanovskaMirjana Lozanovska
In Zavoj, a mountainous village in the Republic of Macedonia, the Day of the Holy Mother is the most significant day in the village's ritual calendar. The Day of the Holy Mother, like other holy days associated with saints, is a religious festival in the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar; and Zavoj, like other villages, identifies with a particular holy day, in this case that of the Holy Mother. Festival is historically and etymologically linked to feast, a celebration in honour of gods, and the Day of the Holy Mother, like the two principal feasts in the Christian calendar, the Feast of Nativity of our Lord (Christmas) and the Feast of Resurrection (Easter), is a religious celebration that includes a feast in honour of the saint, traditionally as a breaking of a fast. Importantly, many Zavoj emigrants return to the village for the festival on the Day of the Holy Mother. Over recent years both village and the festival have been transformed, due to large and continuing emigration and the demise of the resident peasant generation. This chapter will examine the changes in the festival, comparing that of 1988, when the village was inhabited, with that of 2007, when there were only a few people resident and by which time many of the peasant generation had passed on. As a result of emigration the village is emptied of its inhabitants, yet it remains the site of, and destination for, the continuity of the annual festival.