Forgiveness is an interesting mix of pagan masks and sounds, drums and creative individual masks. The atmosphere could feel only those who are present that day in Prilep. That day is filled with happiness, hanging out, creativity and friendship with the unknown. The adrenaline can bring you to the sky that day; because of the masks representing criticism, joy, displeasure, pleasure etc.
On the occasion of the Christian holiday of Forgiveness, Prilep, every year on Sunday holds a carnival under masks. The Carnival of Forgiveness Prilep restored ancient tradition of what people say, “pretend” as it did our ancestors who primarily had in mind the belief that through camouflage chase evil spirits at the threshold of spring, symbolizing fertility and spiritual January wealth of the people.
Prilep is the fourth member of the Association of European carnival cities. Every event there begins with an exhibition of masks and drawings of the students. Additionally, Saturday is the day of welcoming guests and defile of sixty majorettes on the boulevard in the center of Prilep.
Forgiveness is a Christian holiday, and every year, traditionally, on this day the younger children from the family should go to the older members of that family to ask forgiveness. On behalf of that, the older women in the family are baking a pie under oven, the most popular part of the holiday. In the end of the day, just using your mouth, you should catch the egg on the rope…And, the one who catches the egg will be happy and healthy the following year. Those are the beliefs… Usually, this custom is accompanied by laugh and joy from the older members of the family.
Every year the manifestation begins with performance of jugglers, clowns and acrobatic groups. In all cafes, nightclubs and catering facilities there are live gigs and fancy dress balls. It is all about fun, laughing, music and dancing. On that day, there is no place for sadness and complaints. Everybody is celebrating the joy of life.
The carnival has a competitive character and the best costumes are awarded with cash prizes. The jury of ethnologists, journalists and culturologists are granting awards for best individual and group masks, as well as for best ethnic and modern masks. The prizes are divided for 100 000 denars.
Furthermore, on the day of Forgiveness, any libidinous behavior is allowed and that is why the ritual is accompanied with movements associated with immorality. The bulk of the tradition of masking is the butchers who are “pretending” into bears. These butchers every year are isolating themselves as a ritual of cleaning before the holiday, so, on the holiday to be in a state of ritual trance. Their masks, the bears, represent the mythical secrets of fertility and immortality through continuous birth and death.
To summarize, the day of Forgiveness gives a specific image to the city of Prilep, because of the variety of colors, the wide range of creativity and the mixture of feelings inside every visitor. You must come to see, to feel, to experience what every year on the same day the citizens of Prilep and the visitors are feeling, seeing and experiencing.