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Bachelor costume in the ritual "Starchevata" in Razlog

“Starcheva” is celebrated annually on January 1. There is no exact year for the beginning of the festival, but it is certain that it has been celebrated for more than a century. In the past, the holiday began on the evening before the first day of the new year with the custom "Survakane". The children decorated the dogwood twig, and the mother had to sew the “survakar bag” and to decorate it with “aspri”, fringes and “pusheta”. All night the children went around the houses and were donated with cakes, coins, fruits and nuts. Preparations for the holiday, however, began months earlier.

Bachelor costume in the ritual "Starchevata" in Razlog
Bachelor costume in the ritual "Starchevata" in Razlog

The name shows us that this costume is worn by young, unmarried men. First, put on white pants and a shirt, which is also white. It is no coincidence that the white color is present, it shows the purity and innocence of the young man. The long pants are worn with "calcane", made of white aba, which is decorated with black woolen braid. Next is the red vest made of woolen cloth, trimmed and decorated with black braid. The vest has a cover, the shirt is not visible. The choice of colors and cut shows us that the vest also has a protective function. Red protects against “uroki”, but also symbolizes the continuation of the genus.

Ергенска /ердженска/ носия в ритуала "Старчевата" в Разлог

Thanks to the closed vest, the bosom is not visible, another protection of the person from evil eyes. Again we have the presence of the white color - the “soukman”. The “soukman” is made of sewn wedge-shaped pieces of white cotton fabric, and the number can be different - from 60 to 120 and more wedges.

The girdle is wound on it, which is made of wool in different colors - most often red, green, white and navy blue. These colors intertwine in the form of squares, the main one is the red one. Beaded belts are placed on the girdle as an ornament. The ornaments on the chest can be either "kovanitsi" (a chain to which silver coins are attached, most often “akcheta”) or a “kiustek” (string of beads). The top garment is called achma. It is made of blue thin woolen fabric, on which are arranged figures of bikme (thin silk cord) and is lined with black woolen braid.

Ергенска /ердженска/ носия в ритуала "Старчевата" в Разлог

The first chaush Petar Bonkov from Razlog. The costume of the first "erdzhenin" is owned by a family from Razlog.

The old photos are from the fund of the Historical museum in Razlog.

The project "Study of the specifics and richness of national costumes from the Razlog region in the light of cultural diversity" is realized with the financial support of the National Culture Fund under the program "Cultural Heritage".

In fulfillment of the goals of the project we present some of the most beautiful traditional costumes, typical for the Razlog valley in the last 2 centuries.

We offer our sincere thanks to our hosts from the Historical Museum - Razlog, and to all local people who helped with the realization.

Special thanks to all participants and team members who took their time and with useful information, knowledge and valuable advice made possible the work on the project.

A reverence to the girls and boys from the town of Razlog, who stood in front of our camera and with their enthusiasm, youth and beauty revived for a new life the most beautiful costumes from old Mehomiya.


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