The Carnival of Vevchani is traditional manifestation which has been held in Macedonian village Vevchani for more than 1.400 years. It is held on 13 and 14 January when people in Macedonia celebrate the beginning of the New Year according to the old Julian calendar which most branches of the Eastern Ortodox Church still use.
The Carnival of Vevchani represents an interesting combination of paganism and modernism. People gather in the village wearing vivid masks. There are actually three traditional masks: musicians, bridegroom and bride and August the Stupid. The point is to express yourself with all possible freedom using a lot of imagination and creativity.
In 1993 the Carnival of Vevchani and Vevchani itself became a member of the World Federation of Carnival Cities. When you take part in it you understand why this carnival totally deserved that.
And when you get there they give you the passport of Vevchani.
The story begins just like any other love story. The best-looking bachelor was engaged to the best-looking maid in the village, before he went abroad to work. While working abroad, he fell and his face was disfigured. When he was to return to the village, the boy pleaded to his friends that they all should wear masks and hide their faces, so that his fiancée could get used to his hideous face more painlessly. As a result, the Carnival was born.
For Vasilica (Orthodox New Year) nothing happens according a scenario or protocol. The entire village, the houses are part of the stage, and all people are actors or spectators. In the afternoon, two companies form: one from the upper hamlet and another from the lower hamlet, which meet in the village square and show off with their allusions.
At the evening, they visit the houses and wish the people a happy new year. At daybreak, the Vasilicari (all the people that participate in the happening) again make a visit to the houses to congratulate the holiday to everyone with the name Vasil. In the afternoon, the Vasilica chaos ends with an oro (traditional folk dance) in the middle of the village, when all the masks are set on fire.
It`s gonna be a great party in a couple of days in Macedonia. You don`t wanna miss it.