Spurious Revival and Dance Events: the Case of the Anastenaria Worship in Kosti, Bulgaria

Vassilis Lantzos

Apstrakt: The socio-religious phenomenon of the anastenaria worship was manifested initially in Kosti, which now belongs to Bulgaria, through the dance events which members of the anastenaria group performed, holding the icons of Saints Constantine and Helen. In 1914, because of political changes that occurred in the area, the Greek inhabitants had to be forcibly expatriated and settled in a village in northern Greece, in Agia Eleni in Serres, which is the modern center of anastenaria wor-ship. In the abandoned homes of the Greeks in Kosti, Bulgarian families settled and formed a new society, which had nothing to do with the anastenaria worship. On 1st August 2009, the municipality “revived” the anastenaria worship in Kosti. The present essay studies: first, the way the anastenaria worship was manifested in Kosti until 1914 and, later, in Agia Eleni in Serres, and second, the process of its “revival” in 2009 in Kosti as well as the reasons that caused this “revival”. The data collection was based on ethnographic fieldwork (observation, interview) along with written sources. The conclusions drawn from the data analysis shows that, in Kosti, the anastenaria worship, until 1914, was an integral part of the customary and religious behavior of the community. The same situation still exists today in Agia Eleni in Serres as well. While, on the contrary, the “revival” of the anastenaria worship that took place in 2009 in Kosti is described as spurious because it was never a part of the customary and religious behavior of this particular local community.

Ključne reči: Spurious revival, anastenaria, Kosti, religious behavior

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Етнолошко-антрополошке свеске, y. 2012, no. 19 (19), pp. 139-160