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Accepted Paper:

“Plague shirt” among the Romanians of Oltenia and the Vlachs of Timok valley: the evolution of custom  
Natalia Golant (Peter the Great's Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography) Maria Ryzhova (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera))

Paper short abstract:

The focus of our attention is on the custom of making the “plague shirt”. The paper tells about the calendar holidays associated with this custom and about different paths of evolution of this custom among the Romanians of Oltenia and the Vlachs of the Timok Valley.

Paper long abstract:

The paper is based on the data of our field researches in Romanian (Vlachian) settlements of Eastern Serbia and in the villages of the Mehedinţi district in Romania. The Mehedinţi district borders Eastern Serbia along the Danube. The speakers of Oltenian Romanian subdialect live in all the settlements mentioned in the paper. The focus of our attention is on the custom of making the “plague shirt”. This custom is widespread among the Romanians, as well as among the Slavic peoples. Romanians living in Ponoarele community (Mehedinţi district, historical province Oltenia, Romania) have a calendar holiday named Plague Friday and motivated by this custom. This holiday is celebrated on one of the Fridays between Elijah’s Day (July 20) and St. Paraskeva (October 14). The legend associated with this holiday tells of a shirt made overnight to stop the plague epidemic. As we know, the Vlachs from the Timok valley have no calendar holidays associated with the “plague shirt”, but the “plague shirts” themselves are in some houses. According to information from the village of Šipikovo (Zaječar district, Eastern Serbia), men who went to the front took scraps of the “plague shirt” with them (including during the 1998–1999 war in Kosovo). The evolution of this custom in this area is obviously connected with the peculiarities of the modern history of Serbia.

Panel Perf03a
Old rituals, changing environments, new rules I [SIEF Working Group on The Ritual Year]
  Session 1 Tuesday 22 June, 2021, -