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90 | Đurđevdan» Đurđevdan day in the village of Vrtovac, on Stara Planina in Eastern Serbia,” explains Ethnographic Museum curator Danijela Filipović. Every year, in the mystical natural surroundings of the foot ofMidžor, the mountain’s highest peak, a prayer is given and the host of the celebration is selected, known as the kolačar, or cake-bearer, as well as the girl, the planinka, or mountain girl, who is lavishly adorned in floral wreaths. “The two of them, on behalf of the community, offer the sacrifice – the prayer – and break ritual bread,” notes Filipović. The custom also includes a feasting element and the ritual is followed by the eating of local dishes, with an emphasis on belmuž.This cornflour and sheepmilk cheese speciality ismade frommilk that has been ritually milked from sheep representing the first milkLegend has it that lily-of-thevalley’s recognisable spring scent attracts nightingales to find their soul mate ing of the current year. There are also various folk beliefs linked to St. George’s Day. So, for instance, one girl should choose a red apple and peel it in onemove, whispering to it the word “forever”, so she can dream of her fated love. It is also customary to pick Đurđevdan plants, primarily lilyof-the-valley and milkweed. They are used to make wreaths that are hung fromdoor frames and remain there until the next St. George’s Day. Lily of the valley is also believed to have originated during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, when the Virgin Mary’s tears fell at the foot of the cross and turned into these flowers. Instead of a wreath, hazel wood, or flexible young hazel branches, are sometimes used to make a cross – with both the wreath and the cross made to ensure a fruitful year. St. George’s Day also celebrates the importance of health, so housewives soak twigs of Cornelian cherry dogwood in a bowl of water, but also add the red ‘housekeeper’ Easter egg, after whichmembers of the household wash their faces in this dyed water. The custom related to ritual bathing in rivers at daybreak on this holiday was described by director Emir Kusturica in his film Time of the Gypsies, for which he received a Cannes Film Festival award.This love story about young Romani boy Perhan and his chosen one Azra includes Goran Bregović’s adaptation of the Romani folk song Ederlezi (St. George’s Day). Đurđevdan lives on in tradition, in religion and in art, and always retains the same meaning of the departure of winter and the arrival of summer, with all the beauty it brings... Običaj je i da se bere đurđevdansko rastinje, od kog se prave venčići i kače na vrata It is also customary to pick Đurđevdan plants, which is used to make wreaths that are hung from door frames Foto: Nenad pavlović Foto: Foto: Ime i prezime