Flampouro (Nigrita Municipality, Serres County)
“Baboogeroi” Cheesefare Sunday, Ash/Clean Monday
The “Baboogeroi” are young villagers that wear black or brown processed goat-pelts and hang five bells on their waist, one large bell called “batali” and three smaller called “kypria” and tie a scarf on top. On their heads they put the “Babousarka” a black, peaked head mask that covers the face and is over one meter tall. It is decorated on the front, with rows of colourful beads and ribbons and on the top there are colourful scarves.
On Cheesefare Sunday (Sunday of Forgiveness), in the morning, after the “Baboogeros” gets the blessing of his mother, he heads to the church to get the grace of Saint Anna, the patron saint of the region. Then he visits the houses, shaking the bells to scare and cast away the evil, to awaken nature and to bring good luck. The performance (“dromeno”) concludes in the square, where all “Baboogeroi” gather and dance to the unique music of “Baboogeroi” played by zurna (wind instrument) and daouli (drum). They always carry an orange where the villagers stick coins into, which afterwards will offer the money to the church.
Formerly in the village, as in many areas of Greece, the custom of forgiveness was celebrated (the youth asked for forgiveness from their elderly relatives and friends) and each “Baboogeros” wandered the houses of the village with an orange in his hand asking for forgiveness from the oldest woman of the house, who in return stuck into the orange coins. Those who had no money pinned on the head mask scarves.
On Ash Monday the performance (“dromeno”) concludes with the gathering and the dance of “Baboogeroi” in the square of the village and a feast begins with the participation of residents and visitors.