Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Ghergyovden in the village of Patalenitsa

Adelina Marini, May 6, 2009

The residents of the village of Patalenitsa, located some 100 km off Sofia, near the town of Pazardzhik, celebrate "Ghergyovden" (St. Gheorghi Day aka Bravery Day) with probably the biggest number of lamb barbecues per capita. In each neighbourhood people light great fires early in the morning and prepare the live coals. For the purpose they use firewood only from fruit trees and vine so that the year will be fertile. The region where Patalenitsa is located is agricultural, although the local residents cannot quite understand why the area is categorised as urban. The residents themselves also do not understand the requirements they are obliged to follow and that is to kill the lambs in a slaughterhouse and not the traditional way instead. They are also outraged because many define their tradition as pagan but they accept this by mocking at it. An elder resident of the village said that this tradition goes back to 1956.