Παρασκευή, 28 Ιανουαρίου 2011

''LIGOOTSIARIDES'' from Vlachs of Veria


  
Ligootsiaris
~ Για ελληνικά:

Last year ,in an on of our articles, we only mentioned 'Ligootsiarides' of Aromanians - Vlachs from Veria as a custom of disguises during the feasts of ‘TWELVE DAYS’-Christmas, new Year Day and Epiphany, in general in Greece.
However, we should remind, briefly, that these disguises were a small troupe of men (a precursor of the theater), the custom has its roots in ancient Greek period (worship of Dionysus) for the disappearance of evil spirits (by the deafening bang of the bells), for death of the old, advent of the new and in general for the domination of the new over the old.
That’s why in these small groups, troupes, we see forms and shapes of young and old men, involved in strong fights to each other (even till death), where at last the young and strong ones dominate over the old ones. 
Thus, there are a lot of place names in Greece, such as “The Killed”, 'Arsalia' (cemeteries), etc. The expected in final analysis is: Fertility, vegetation, heat, light, against non-fertility, cold and darkness.
We talked about of Dionysus’ worship because he is not only God of wine and patron of vineyards in ancient Greeks, but God who dies and is reborn every year. Besides, ‘Phallus’ (fertility symbol), the masks with animal head skins and horns that existed in Dionysus’ worship (in ancient Greece), all these strengthen our belief that the custom is a residue of Dionysus cult.
This custom is found in all historical periods later (Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman), it surely passed to Christianity and it is now preserved, the way it is.
The wide spreading of the custom over Greek population is clearly obvious and the names of it in different places of nothern Greece (Thessaly, Epirus and Macedonia) are : (we mention them in Latin letters but in their Greek names)
Arapides, Arapki, Argkootsaria, Alides, Gamila with Divitzi, Kamila, Karavaslades, Kalindrades, Kalkantzari, Carnivals, Koudounades, Lagatzaria, Lioogatziaria, Logatsaria, Baboogeri, Babaioordis, Momogeri, Boosiarei, Baboerides, Babiden, Bampalioordes, Boobosaria , Diliari, Potoorlides, Ragootsaria, Roogatsia, Rogatzaria, Rooganades, Rogatsades, Roogi, Soorvari, Soorvatzides,, Jamales and Foostanelades and Nifes (Eskiari, Tzvokari), etc.
The custom of ‘Ligootsiaridon’ from Veria is explained as following: Young children until the age of about 12, dressed as 'ligootsiarides’ before dawn, New Year’s Day, sang ‘carols’ at the houses of their relatives and friends. I'll explain below, the costume of 'Ligootsiaridon'. The carols, they sang, were in Greek language (another more evidence that Aromanians-Vlachs were bilingual, especially in their songs and customs).The lyrics of the song are:
‘Ligootsiaris comes, January dawns, Fragitsa here, Fragitsa (woman’s name) there, Fragitsa goes to the fountain, with the gioordani (kind of jewel) on the neck, with the sword to the waist. Like this year, brave boys …..(Wish) like next year!
The custom was vivid till the decade of 60’ . I was lucky to participate in it in its authentic situation and not as a revival.
In the afternoon of New Year’s Day, the older boys and young men (14-25 years old) were dressed as 'Ligootsiarides'. On their legs they had ‘Holevia’ (cloth applied to the leg tightly) –‘Tsouarits’ is the word in the vlachic idiom .They were usually black and narrow. On their body, they had a white shirt (‘kãma6ia’ is called in vlachic idiom) just as it was in the traditional Vlach costume. They wore simple shoes or shoes made up by pig skin. Inside the shirt (kãma6ia), they wore a white flannel with embroidered sleeves around their arms. Over ‘kama6ia’ they had a black cape (kapa) , cut in such way ,so that the shirt to be shown in legs and arms. They were loaded with many rows of large bells and on their faces they had homemade face glaring masks (usually with white hair and tails from goat wool). They held wooden swords in their hands
They wandered through streets, alleys and houses of Veria, singing carols, dancing and causing deafening noise with the bells. If two companies of ‘Ligootsiarides’ met each other in the street, there was a vestigial battle and then the company , that was supposed to be defeated, was forced to pass beneath the swords of the winners (military habit of obedience).
However, before Aromanians - Vlachs come to Mount Vermion (from the villages of Pindos) and before the destruction of the villages of M.Vermion by Turk - Albanians, the custom existed in these villages, which were crowded and the battles between ‘Ligootsiarides’ were real true and violent with victims. In villages ‘Kastania’ and ‘Seli’, there are still place names, called 'S'komeni' (The Killed), in memory of those bloody conflicts among ‘Ligootsiarides’ of the various villages. In a future article, will try to analyze the etymology of the word "Ligootsiaris''.
(Source, 91 years old Tsiamitros H. Kostas (Psomas) and our personal experience)

By John Tsiamitros, Education, and teacher of traditional dances. Text and translation in English by John Tsiamitros, too.

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