Celebrating Spring- Ederlezi, Hidirellez and the Feast Day of St. George










The arrival of Spring is widely celebrated and has ancient roots across the globe. Many ethnic and religious groups celebrate this event on May 6th in the Gregorian calendar, approximately 40 days after Spring equinox. Ederlezi is the 'Gypsy' or Roma name for the Feast of Saint George, which is widely celebrated in the Balkans and beyond. It is called Đurđevdan in Serbian, Gergyovden in Bulgarian or Jurjevo in Croatian.  A similar celebration called 'Hidirellez' is celebrated in Turkey and throughout the Turkic world. Hıdırellez is celebrated as the day on which Prophets Hızır and Ilyas met on the earth. Hızır and Ilyas, the names of the two prophets, fused together, forming the name of the festival, Hıdırellez. A Turkish friend of mine told me that in Turkey people hit themselves and/or each other with nettles on this day. I'll be sure to bring her some next year as I have an abundance of them!
May 6th is also St. Georges Day and is one of the most important Christian saints in Orthodox churches. He was a martyr who died for his faith and on icons, he is usually depicted as a man riding a horse and killing a dragon. In Northern Croatia this feast day is celebrated with bonfires and a Slavic tradition where five most beautiful girls are picked to play as Dodola goddesses dressed in leaves and sing for the village every day till the end of the holiday. Balkan Roma traditions include; decorating the home with flowers and blooming twigs as a welcoming to spring, taking baths added with flowers and washing hands with water from church wells. Also the walls of the home could be washed with the water. On the day of the feast it is most common to grill a lamb for the feast dinner. The appearance of music is also very important during this holiday. Aside from dancing and singing, traditional Brass bands are popular.
  
Which brings me to this, "Ederlezi" is also popular traditional folk song of the Roma minority in the Balkans. Here are a couple versions of Ederlezi to enjoy!


by the Polish group Dikanda





English Translation of the song Ederlezi:




All my friends dance the oro
Dance the oro, they make the day
All the Roma, mummy
All the Roma, dad, dad
All the Roma, o mummy
All the Roma, dad, dad
Ederlezi, Ederlezi
All the Roma, mummy
All the Roma, dad, sacrify sheep
But me, poor drummer, I must stay away
A Romani day, our day
Our day, Ederlezi
(translation needed), a sheep for us
All the Roma, dad, sacrify sheep
All the Roma, dad, dad
All the Roma, oh mummy
All the Roma, dad, dad
Ederlezi, Ederlezi
All the Roma, mummy



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