Wednesday, 19 December 2018 | News today: 16

BBC on Vevcani Carnival: It’s like being in a friendly riot

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On its travel web page, BBC presented a report from this year’s Vevcani carnival. “Hundreds take to the streets, their faces covered with masks from frightening to bizarre to downright incongruous. St. Basil’s day carnival, on the Orthodox New Year, is a tradition that stretches back to pagan times”, BBC reports.

Misko Kitanovski, a historian of the Vevcani carnival, says that the event also has a political message. “Black devil masks chase away the evil spirits, bad language and all that is bad in the family. Stupid August masks send a message that every Government should be criticized in order to be better the following year”, Kitanovski told the BBC, adding that there are only a few rules for participating in the carnival.

“You must drink alcohol for 24 hours straight, wear a mask and be prepared to bear provocations from other participants like pinching and prodding”. “It’s like being in a friendly riot, too much noise, people shouting, yelling, dancing in crazy costumes and a lot of alcohol being drunk”, the BBC describes the atmosphere in Macedonia’s best known carnival, while firecrackers and fireworks fly all around.

Katerina Cvetovska, one of the organizers of the carnival, says that the goal of the event is to have “everything that is bad in the past year stopped right here, with humour and satirical approach, forgotten, and to get to the New Year with better wishes and be more cheerful than in the last one”.

The British report speaks about Vevcani’s rebellious spirit. The small town became famous in the 1980ies, when it stood up to the Communist authorities in a water rights dispute. Then, in 1991, as Yugoslavia was falling apart, the entire community got together, and with 100 percent of the votes declared its own independent Republic of Vevcani.

“Vevcani is officially part of Macedonia, but tourists can become honorary citizens of the Republic and get passport. It looks very official”, the BBC reporter says, warning people not to try to use it at an actual border crossing though.