Kopachkata is a dynamic and energetic social dance performed by local residents of the village of Dramche in the region of Pijanec. It is danced at weddings, public gatherings and religious holidays by the village’s best male dancers. The dance is performed in a semicircle accompanied by drummers, a fiddle, and sometimes a tamboura lute or bagpipes. The key roles are the dance leader, who initiates the dance, the last dancer, and the middle dancer who acts as the fulcrum, balancing the left and right sides of the semicircle. During the dance, the dancers hold each other’s belts with crossed hands, to ensure stability as their movements quicken. The dance starts with a slow walking movement, then changes to swift and short steps, followed by quicker steps and foot stamping. Younger, newer participants learn by taking the last place in the semicircle, and moving closer to the front as their competence progresses. For local audiences, the Kopachkata dance is a symbol of cultural identity, not only of the community of the village of Dramche, but for the wider Pijanec region.
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In Serbia, Orthodox Christian families celebrate an important holiday in honour of the patron saint, Slava, who is believed to be their protector and provider of welfare. The celebration consists of the ritual offering of a bloodless sacrifice and a feast held for relatives, neighbours and friends. A specially designed candle is lit in the family home, then wine is poured over a Slava cake, prepared and decorated by the host’s wife, which is then cut crosswise, rotated and broken into four parts and lifted up. During the ritual, thanks are given to the saint and prayers are said for prosperity. The cutting is performed by the host and the oldest or most important guest and other family members. The feast then begins with the ceremonial drinking of wine, eating and a toast expressing wishes for health, fertility and well-being of the family and guests. Knowledge related to the Slava is passed down in families, with women playing an important role in transmitting knowledge concerning the performance of rituals, their meaning and purpose. The Slava feast reinforces social relations and plays an important role in establishing and maintaining dialogue in multi-ethnic and multi-confessional areas.
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