Monday, March 2, 2009

The Day of Forgiveness (Prochka)

Yesterday the Macedonians celebrated an old Orthodox Holiday called The Day of Forgiveness, or Prochka. I have really enjoyed learning about their holidays since living here. Understanding their holidays and customs gives me insight into their culture and belief system. Prochka is the beginning of Easter celebrations (or Lent Fast) and it includes Christian and pagan customs.
On this day each year, grown daughters and sons visit their parent's homes to ask them for forgiveness for anything they have did wrong against their parents. They take their parents something sweet, like cookies, and some coffee to show their parents respect. Pepi told me that now days the children don't literally ask their parents for forgiveness anymore. They just take the sweets as a gift and that symbolizes that they want to be forgiven. They of course will kiss and hug their parents. They are very affectionate people.
Also on this day there are carnivals in different Macedonian cities. There are parades with many masked people. I've watched some YouTube clips about this holiday to see what it's all about. I've never been to Mardi Gras but this does seem similar.

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