The “Black Wedding” SERIES tickled the imagination of many with its unusual rituals based on the so-called Vlach magic, mysticism, a dose of horror, but also the true event from 2007, when Nikola Radosavljević killed nine of his neighbors in Jabukovac. Although the authors claim that they took care not to hurt the national feelings of the Vlachs and not to insult the people who have lived in this area for centuries, the members of the Vlach community are not completely satisfied with what they have seen so far.
Those with whom “Novosti” spoke point out that they have a clear artistic concept, but not the way in which the Vlachs live in the area from Morava to Timok and Danube, to the border with Bulgaria and Romania, in 18 municipalities of Bor, Zajecar and Braničevo district, speaks through the prism of magic, in an inappropriate way.
– The state is as rich as it values its cultural heritage, and the Vlachs have a rich culture, customs and traditions. This culture is not reflected in imaginary magical rites, by it we mean specific customs that are not pagan or magical in character but ordinary, which have been upgraded over the centuries and constitute the very essence of the Vlachs. We feel bad when we are tied only to black magic rituals – says Novica Janošević, president of the Vlach National Council.
The interlocutor of “Novosti” explains that Vlachs are proud of their culture and present it through various manifestations in eastern Serbia, such as “Homoljski motivi” in Kucevo, “Vrela Mlave” in Zagubica, “Gergina” in Negotin, Festival of original Vlach songs in Bor …
– Wherever they are, our people establish ensembles, clubs, nurture tradition, customs and language, and I think that is far more important than a fun series that shows Vlachs in a fantastic and imaginary way – claims Janošević.
Aleksandar Repedžić, curator-ethnologist of the Museum of Ponišavlje in Pirot, a member of the Vlach community, author of numerous publications and works, collaborator and author of several documentaries and co-author of the series “Počudište” which deals with the demystification of customs, points out that there are no Vlach rites. nothing bizarre or sensationalist, but that it is a matter of not understanding the Vlach culture from the point of view of Serbian ethnologists.
– Serbian ethnology did not understand the language and did not understand the culture in the right way, so there are certain mistakes made during the research – adds Repedzic.
It was he, as one of the few, who attended the custom that caused the greatest public attention and after which the series was named “Black Wedding”. Nunta njagra, as the black wedding is called in Vlach, was practiced in the vicinity of Zvizd and Homolje for the last time in 2003, and Redzepic attended this custom in Rasanac near Petrovac na Mlavi, a year later.
– Grandma dreamed that her late grandson got married in the other world, but that it is necessary for him to be married in this world as well. That obligation was accepted by his friend, who was not allowed to have a boyfriend for a year, she had to be faithful as if her “husband” was still alive – Repedzic points out.
The very custom of a black wedding implied the appointment of a girl, in this case a friend of an early injured boy, but her breakup had a number of symbolic ritual elements. The flag was carried, the “wedding guests” marched in a procession to the grave of the “groom”:
– There is no real wedding ceremony. On the day of the termination of the black wedding, a dacha, ie pomana, is organized. The “wedding guests” decorate the car and go to the cemetery, break the flag and leave it on the grave of the deceased. We need to understand the grief of the family that was left without the only heir at that moment, even the adopted one, which remains without children and without anyone of its own – explains ethnologist Repedzic. – It should be viewed as part of the folk religion and cultural heritage of one nation. After all, the black wedding and marriage to the deceased is also mentioned in Mashkon’s “History of Rome” and this custom was widespread throughout the Roman Empire and as such has survived to this day.
A Vlach woman from Slatina near Bor, Branislava Dimitrijević (65), who respects all customs as she learned from her mother, says that the act mentioned in the series is not known as a black wedding and that it was last practiced in this area before 40 and several years. For the Vlachs, as well as for other nations, death is the transition from earthly temporary to heavenly eternal life. They are preparing for this transition for the rest of their lives. “That world” is a new life, but it is dark and cold.
– If the deceased dies without a candle, he is in the dark there, he suffers. If he is buried barefoot, he walks on thorns. If, for example, his son has died, and his mother and father are still alive, a small candle is placed on his little finger so that he has light there. When he is given pomana, three candles are placed and the so-called paradise of 44 candles, which will give him light there. That heavenly candle is lit for up to a year, and for up to seven years – Dimitrijević tells us, who is preparing a seven-year commemoration of her mother-in-law these days.
EASTER CYCLE ON EASTER
In NEGOTINA Krajina, there is also the custom of the funeral procession, on the second day of Easter.
– Up to 40 days, the soul of the deceased is there in the house where he leaves. He is given up to seven years of age, he is given everything he will need in the other world. Here in Slatina, we always share woolen socks so that he is not barefoot. It is divided on the day of the funeral, into 40 days, a year, then the third, fifth, seventh. At the age of seven, this is our custom, we share a bed, a table, chairs, always a suit, food, drinks – adds Branislava Dimitrijević.
STATISTICAL data show that in ethnic Vlach settlements in this area live a little more than 250,000 Vlachs. Statistical data from the 2011 census record 35,330 declared Vlachs, as well as 42,340 citizens who expressed Vlach as their mother tongue.
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