Σάββατο, 5 Μαρτίου 2011


Pronunciation symbols: (') = voiceless vowel is pronounced like the French word (que), (6) = thick (s)
A lot has been written about the custom of ‘Pirpiruna’. It is  found in all people of the Balkans and  it is committed often in times of drought (lack of water), where a girl  usually very young, poor and orphan with flowers, grasses,  etc all over her body, along with the company of other girls,  go from door to door singing and begging God to rain. (we have too many variations of this custom). The housewives pour water onto the girl, hoping to cause rain to come. The symbolism of splashed water has got homeopathic nature: As it is ‘raining’ on ‘Pirpirouna’, so rain will splash the thirsty land. 
  In the case of the Armanians-Vlachs, we have another peculiar variant, apart from   the custom ‘g’liata’ described in another article of ours (combination of ‘Pirpirouna’ and ‘Klidona’ from Armanians of villages Samarina and Xerolivado). And this for three reasons: First, because there is a rare Armanian song, second, because the singing group consisted of adult men and a man (taller of the rest) was dressed ‘Pirpirouna’, and third because apart from the appeals for increase in property, etc. there were ‘peaks’ to local authority. 

  Therefore, as drought deprived them of goods, the same way local civilian authority removed goods through taxes (especially unfair taxes), since Voivod (Turkish commander of Kaza-we call it Prefecture today) counted both dead and alive people!  The lyrics of the song emphasize the fact   that Voivod never erased them (dead) from his tax notebook. 
  So  poor (subject to Turks) people, hoping to ‘Pirpiruna’ that ‘she’ would   bring them blessed rain, also expected the following material or moral consequences: 
  First, the dowry to be untouched and the match (for marriage) not to spoil.
  Secondly, Voivoda to get his ‘lufe’ (fee without labour) and taxes 
  Third, poor people to be saved from prison and disgrace. 
  Finally, they had the opportunity to raise (!), through the custom, a voice of protest, with peaks (cleverly posed) against unjust authority.
  The song, that follows, explains why men undertook to act the custom, since there were also other purposes, apart from the expected rain. 
   - A ‘male and strong’ ‘Pirpirouna’, as the song says: 
  "Eaoa-eaoa Pirpiroania,  un' nviast' di verdiats', di verdiats 6i  di -nfloriats'. Ia6i doamne, ia6i doamn’, ia6i afenti Voivoda, ku tifterlu 6i ku kuntiilu kari skrie6ti mortul ku yiulu. E6itsi vinitsi, e6itsi albi, e6itsi vit6ini, su vintet6 , su k'ntet6, su mi6tets, k' n'andutsi ploaia vrut' bun'  teats'  la lumea tut'. S’ kreask' iergili verdetsile, 6i afl', s-pas-h' oili 6i pravtzile. Ti si kresk’ granile, oartzile 6ι oviasile   bobotle 6ι pr'vtzile. 6i si ubl' alginile, 6i ublem ambarile, 6i ublem butsile, fualile, v'telahile s' si alin' stoatzile. S-hib' casa imblinat' 6i di as'ntz' kama msiat'. Ku a fiatilor  prit6ie ne n-t6iput' tu yunie, zdouarm' ksolt6ti isusitili. Si s-h'rs'ask' fiatili, 6i  sadun' kuliastr'ndi, kuliastr'ndi 6i gugut6i. 6i s-h'rs'ask' pikurarli, g'linarli, 6i k'pr'li, v'karli, v'lmats'li, 6ik'ratz'li, vainatz'li, almbili  6i vinitsili. 6i s-h'rs'ask-6i Voivoda k’ va slia lufel'  pugiak' ,6i v'r'  di  noi tu pitek'. Ku un' ploaia pirpirut, s-hib' in chimp gkini Lumia tut'. " 
  Translation: Here ‘she’ is ‘Pirpiruna’, green bride with herbs and flowers. Come out, lord and lady, come out, and master Voivoda, with your pencil and notebook which even the dead make alive. ‘Veneti’  (wearing blue ‘foustanellas’) and ‘White’(wearing white clothes) come out,   neighbors  come out to see ‘her’ and sing a song for ‘her’ ,who   brings  only rain and  goods to the whole world. May thick grass grow, so as sheep, lambs and animals can eat. May wheat, barley and oats, maize and animals (for slaughter) grow up. May grape bunches mature and bee nest  give honey,  storerooms, barrel jars and   skin bags be full  and  all become  a great heap (of all goods). May the house fill (with everything) and look better than now. May the girls’ dowry be kept untouchable in the corner and young men (who promised marriage) feel carefree. May   bouquets of kitranthous and lilies give joy to the girls. May sheep, chicken, goat, cow and horse breeders, rye farmers, coopers, ‘Blue’ and ‘White’ (wearing foustanellas) be happy. May Voivoda be happy, when he gets his   ‘lufe’ (fee) in his pouch and none of us in jail.  May, after the “Pirpirouna” rain, all world creations be fine. 
   When the song ended, the crowd began to sing the following: 
“Ea mi6tet6i, Pirpiroania, Pirpiroania ah'ntoas', ah'ntoas' b'rb'toas' ,b'rb'toas' s'n'toas'. 
  Translation: Please, treat sweet ‘Pirpiruna’, deep Pirpiruna, deep and brave, brave and sturdy. 
   The male ‘Pirpirouna’ went up on stilts (t6ioatsi) and the spectacle was impressive. Stilts were made by top beeches (alnei di fagu), after removing all lateral branches, except one (shortened) branch, the most appropriate in height and strength. ‘Pirpiruna’ stepped on this branch.  They constructed two stilts for both feet, as is natural. 
    Each house gave   ‘Pirpiruna’ as reward a handful of salt, which the last of the company carried in a bag. The custom of ‘Pirpirouna’ stopped only when all houses were being visited.
(Source:  Giorgios Plataris-Tzimas from Metsovo, researcher, painter)
[The present article was published in local paper of Veria, Greece ‘LAOS’ on 03-20-03-2010]

(By Yannis Tsiamitros, teacher of traditional dances, the translation in English is by him, too) 

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