CALUSUL PLOUGH MONDAY
FUNERARY & BIRTH DANCES
"The man received the gods with a pleasure feeling of rhythm and harmony. The gods themselves were the conductors of their dances, and the name of the heart, Choros, derives naturally from the word which means happiness, chora" Platon, Laws, II, 653/4.
When the incoming Greek-speaking peoples arrived into the Balkan Peninsula, from the north, during the
first millennium BC, they adopted the Pelasgian sacred mountain, Olimpus, which was guarded by the Pelasgian priestess of Hera, the amazons called
Horai or Horae. In the Iliad they were the custodians of the gates of Olympus. They are also the collective personfication of justice. Hesoid, who saw them as givers of the law, justice and peace gave them the names Eunomia (Discipline),
Dike (Justice) and Eirene
The Horae became in the Greek mythology, the personifications of the seasons and goddesses of natural order.
In later mythology the Horae became the four seasons. When the day was divided into 12 equal parts, each of them took the name of Hora. Their yearly festival was the Horaia or Horaea.
The "hour" comes from Greek Hora, Pers. Houri, who kept the hours of the night by dances - the "ladies of the hour".
Horae were the Aphrodite's celestial nymphs called "fair ones, begetters of all things, who in appointed order bring on day and night, summer and winter, so as to make months and years grow full". In Babylon, they were named harines and in Israel, hors.
Houri also spelled Huri, Arabic Hawra, plural Hur, was in Islam, a beautiful maiden who awaits the devout Muslim in paradise. The Arabic word hawra signifies the contrast of the clear white of the eye to the blackness of the iris. From "hawra" stands the word "aura", designating the bright light surrounding the heads of the saints.
There are numerous references to the houri in the Qur'an describing them as "purified wives" and "spotless virgins". Tradition elaborated on the sensual image of the houri and defined some of her functions; on entering paradise, for example, the believer is presented with a large number of houris, with each of whom he may cohabit once for each day he has fasted in Ramadan and once for each good work he has performed.
It worth to be mentioned that an entire Semitic culture, the "Horites" (Genesis 14:6), claimed descendence from the Goddess Hor, whose holy mountain was Mount Hor (Numbers 20:22-28). Aaron the brother of Moses died on this mountain. It it also named as Mount Horeb, where, according to the book of Deuteronomy, Moses received the Ten Commandments.
David danced "uncovered" before the ark of the Covenant, and was anxious to appear vile for the sake of his "Lord," and base in his own sight. (See 2 Samuel vi. 14, 16.)
The dance performed by David round the ark was the "circle-dance". Such was the dance of the daughters of Shiloh (Judges
xxi. 19 - 25). We are told that "there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly".
This was an ancient matriarchal custom, which was associated to a wedding
ritual, as we can see:
21: "And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin."
25: "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
plural Hore (same reading as greek Horae), is the name of an ancient circular dance, which survived up to now days in
In the ancient times, naked women danced it.
In Romania there were found three clay depictions of this dance, two of them having five dancers and one with six dancers. The last one, which is the most famous, was found at Bodesti-Frumusica, in Moldavia. All of them are dating from 4000 - 3000 BC.
These objects have been used as crowns, during some ritual ceremonies. So that you are looking at the oldest crowns ever found!
As a sacred ceremony, the coronation took place into the middle of the hora attended by the priestesses of the community.
The prehistoric coronation rituals survived into the cult of Dionysus.
According to Gilbert Murray, Deos or Dios Nysos means Zeus the son.
The myth tells us that Dionysus, the child of Zeus and the mortal Semele, was torn to pieces by the Titans.
Semele, during her pregnancy, was supposedly seized by an irrepressible desire to dance, and whenever she heard the sound of a flute, she had to dance; and the child in her womb danced, too. The hymn which Philodamus of Skarpheia composed for Delphi in the middle of the fourth century tells us that all of the immortals danced at the birth of Dionysus.
Aeschylus, in the Edonias, has given us a picture of the wild tumult of the Thracian orgy: the maenades rush off, whirl madly in circles, or stand still, as if turned into stone. It was not possible to disclose to the noninitiated the mysteries by words, but it was treachery to reveal the secret dances.
Hora dances are mentioned for the first time in the
choral performances, coming from the
"choros" dance, in which a group of 50 men danced and sang dithyrambs - lyric hymns in praise of the god Dionysus (Bacchus at Romans), the god of wine and ecstasy, introduced from Thrace. The
dithyramb was originally a Greek choric hymn, with accompanying mime, in
honor of Dionysus. The
choruses of fifty singers in a circle, were dressed as satyrs, part human, part bestial and bearing before them huge replicas of the erect penis, as they sang dithyrambs. The Greek word tragoidia "tragedy" has been connected with tragos "goat". "Come to us King Dithyramb, Bacchus, god of the Holy Chant" 4th century BC
(J. Allegro, p.85).
In the middle of the 6th century BC, the poet Thespis reputedly became the first true actor when he engaged in dialogue with the choros leader. Thespis won first prize in the initial tragedy competition held at Athens in 534 BC and is also credited with the introduction of masks, which were thereafter a conventional feature of Greek and Roman theater (Grollier).
Choral performances continued to dominate the early plays until the time of Aeschylus (5th century BC), who added a second actor and reduced the choros from 50 to 12 performers. Sophocles, who added a third actor, increased the choros to 15 but reduced it to a mainly commentarial role in most of his plays. The choros in Greek comedy numbered 24, and interspersed songs displaced its function eventually.
Khorlo (Tibetan: 'khor-lo) means: 'wheel',
'round'. Khorlo is the lexical item commonly used to denote 'chakra' (Sanskrit) in Tibetan literature.
Khorlos is also the name of a tribe of Mongols on the northwest of Shingking.
In Balkans, the circular dances are known under different names: hora
in Romania, kolo in ex-Yugoslavia, horo in Bulgaria, khorovod in Russia and choros in Greece. The
Magyar word kör means circle,
Kolo comes from the Old Slavic word for wheel. The kolo was probably danced in worship of the Sun long before the Slavs arrived in the Balkan Peninsula. The karichka, kruhlyk or koleso (circle) is a lively and popular circle dance form which most often includes singing and a second tempo which is quicker. It is used by various age and gender groupings, but in some areas it is more often danced by women. Some variant terms are: koljeso, kolesko (little circle), and kruzhok.
The khorovod is a women's dance that contains lyrics and movements derived from ancient Slavonic times. Its name comes from the Greek choros dance. The melodies are rather haunting and beautiful. This dance has walking and circle figures which embellish folk rituals such as the greeting of spring, the death of winter, the celebration of the winter solstice, and the celebration of harvest.
There is evidence that circular dances were played by women in the north of Sardinia, on Monte d'Acoddi, near Sassari. There was found a sanctuary from 4000 BC where was found a representation of a ritual dance played by women, as shown into the picture.
In the 7-th century, in Europe is mentioned a dance similar to choros, called Carole. Mentioned as early as the 7th century, the carole spread throughout Europe by the 12th century and declined during the 14th century. A relic of medieval Danish caroling survives in the circular ballad dances of the Faeroe Islands.
Apokries, Greece, in the morning of wedding, men would dance around fire and jump over fire to show
"palikaria" (might). In Corfu (Kerkira) island, in the square of Agios Vasileios (Saint Basil) on the last Sunday before Lent, the village priest leads off the dance called
"Doxa na". All the men of the village follow, each according to his age and his rank in the village. It is danced without instrumental music; the priest who leads chants the lines, and the rest of the dancers repeat them. At the end of the dance, old women with musical instruments begin playing, and then break into the traditional circular dance of Corfu. This tradition can be found in other villages of Oros, but nowhere else in Greece. Karolas Klimis in his book Customs of the People of Corfu regards the dance as a survival of bacchanal rites dating back to around 500 BC.
The Romanian circular dance called hora is a metaphor for the community: the circle opens to admit nubile women, adolescent boys entering manhood, and those ending mourning; conversely, it shuts out anyone who has violated local moral standards. There are few patterns of dance steps. The dancers, while facing the center, are stepping forward and backward, making the hora to resemble to either to a wave, or to a whirlpool, when they are doing quick steps in only one direction. Usually the dancers are moving more to the right, so that the circle moves counterclockwise.
The "entering into the hora", performed usually on Easter, marks the entering of the girl into the adolescence.
Those maidens who do not enter into the hora at the right age, no matter how beautiful and rich they are, are pointed with the index and are despised by the community, being considered as witches.
The days before and after her wedding, the girl must dance into the hora, because the wedding rituals are accomplished through the magic of this dance which guarantees the abundance, the good luck and the divine blessing during the marriage.
"Perinita" (the little pillow) is a distinctive Romanian dance of the kiss. It is a hora dance, in which alternatively, men and women pick their partners from the circle of the dancers, for a short swirl, and a kiss upon the dance floor while kneeling in the middle of the hora, on a little pillow or on an embroidered handkerchief. After the kissing, the last chosen will choose a new partner, while his former partner takes his place into the hora. This dance is performed on the night of the New Year and is the last hora on the wedding celebrations.
On the 23 of June, on the summer solstice, there is the celebration of
Sanziene or Rusalii, who are the fairies protecting the crops and are dancing in the air, over the fields and forests. During this day, women are dancing in a hora, having at its middle buckets with water,
flowers and personal objects, as offerings to the fairies.
This can be seen into the photo taken in 1960 near Constanta, into an Aromanian village.
The ethnologist Tache Papahagi, described and photographed the Aromanian spiral hora, 100 meters long, mounting from a valley to a hill top.
In Russia and other Slavic countries is celebrated Rusal'naia nedelia, which
is actually a mock remnant of the wedding ritual. Propp writes that in
some areas, when the girls return from the fields, they make bonfires and
jump over them. Boys approach the girls and the girls try to throw
their crowns on them, while the girls mimic the rusalka, trying to
catch the boys and tickle them. In light of the crowning sequence
in the church ceremony, these games almost certainly pair the future bride
with the rusalka. Additionally, the constant washing of the
bride's hair is also reminiscent of the rusalka's hair, which must
always be moist.
This ritual crowning of the boys by the girls is related to the hora crowns, presented into the above pictures. This ritual survived almost identical for 6000 years and is coming from the matriarchal societies, where women communities crowned the men elected as leader and husband.
Similarly, in Greece the custom of Klidonas becomes alive on St. John' s day, which is on 24th June. The festivity begins with big fires, which every children jump over. Afterwards, the unmarred women bring the "speechless water" from the well and empty it in "gragouda" (earthware jug) together with a "rizikari", a personal and usually valuable object. Then they cover "gragouda" and leave it under the clear sky for the night. Finally, they all go to bed and dream of the man they are going to get married to.
The following day they open "gragouda" while they are singing. The women take back their personal objects while they listen to a couplet which has some kind of meaning for the lady' s "riziko" (destiny). By the time the women have finished collecting their belongings, the sun sets and every girl fills her mouth with a sip of "speechless water", stands in front of her window and waits until she hears the first male name. It is believed that this is going to be the name of her future husband.
Dimitrie Cantemir, the king of Moldavia (1693, 1710-1711) and a remarkable historian, wrote in his work "Descriptio Moldaviae", about the so called caluczeni telling us that they gathered in groups of 7, 9 or 11, wearing woman clothing and making their voices to sound like the women ones. They were jumping as if they were flying, with their swords in hands. They were treating the sick ones, and if they killed somebody, they were not punished. The Caluczenii had to fulfill their ritual duties for nine years, otherways they were punished by the spirits.
The Romanian folklorist Fochi Adrian wrote: "They are bound to remain into the calus for 3, 5 or 9 years. They are worshiping three fairies left by God to punish the humans (...). If one of them gets sick during the calus, they go to find other group of calusari, where all of them, are trying to remove the sickness of their comrade, with dances and tours around him."
Calusari from Mures county, Romania
A calusari group is active for only a ritually defined period of time during the spring, and begins with a ceremony called "raising the flag," which is performed secretly and includes the members swearing oaths to the group and its leader. During the period of calus, the members are bound by a taboo against any sexual contact with women, and married members must live apart from their wives. There is always an odd number of men in a group. In addition to the dancing, the group also does skits very much like the folk theater.
The most important part, of what they do is the ritual curing of delirium or paralysis caused by possession by wood or water nymphs, or fairies.
Before performing this ritual, one of the members draws a magic circle around the group with his sword. The space inside is considered sacred space, and no one else is permitted to enter except the person being cured. The leader would divine the specific taboo that had been violated by the victim, and pick the dance appropriate to it. After the dance, the cure culminated in the breaking of an earthenware jar next to the sick person, destroying the evil spirits. Sometimes one of the calusari would then become possessed as the victim recovers. He would then be revived by one of the many types of death and resurrection skits that are a large part of the folk theater. Again, many of these have humorous and bawdy aspects.
The leader of the group is the one responsible for choosing and training any new members, and is also the keeper of the mysteries, passing the secrets orally to his successor. Kligman relates how one retired leader would not reveal any of the secrets even though there was no longer a group in his village, but indicated that he still had to pass on the knowledge.
Now days, the "calusari", often accompanied by a masked personage (the mute) carry clubs and are performing dances of great virtuosity. The unexpected developments of the dance are accompanied by "strigaturi" (humorous or satirical verse chanted during the dance) and the tunes sung by the groups of interpreters.
In Slatina, every year opens the competition of "calusari", presenting the distinct style of each separate team of dancers. Thrilling competitions of virtuosity are interrupted by solo dancers, some of whom are very old men, and even children who have inherited their parent's talent.
The treatment of wood or water nymph disease (delirium, paralysis) was a major part of the rituals of the masked men (kaloushari), who performed in Northern Bulgaria up to the beginning of the 20th century. They did their ritual dances during Midsummer Week for the sake of fertility and good health. Like the calusari of Romania, as described in the book Calus, by Gail Kligman, the cure culminated in the breaking of an earthenware jar next to the sick person, destroying the wood nymphs that have infested them. Although the Bulgarian kalushari have died out, the Romanian calusari and the Bulgarian koukeri still survive.
In Pernik, Bulgaria, every year, there is a gathering of koukeri groups from all over the country, similarly the calusari gathering from Slatina, Romania.
According to the eminent Bulgarian scholar M. Armaoudov, the customs know as roussalii and kaloushari had the same origin, and could be viewed as a legacy from ancient Thrace.
Ivanichka Georgeieva comments on the koukeri - "In this carnival, heralding spring, there intertwined mystical and religious observances and beliefs of various epochs. They kept alive the ancient tradition and the link with Dionysus."
These customs are described in historical records dating back to the thirteenth century, in a text from Demetrios Chomantianos, Archbishop of Ohrid in 1230.
In ancient times, the new year was celebrated at the end of March. The
Plough rituals are coming from that period, but changed the date together
with the change of the calendar.
Plough Monday is the first Monday of January after twelfth day of Christmas (the epiphany). This tradition is present in England and also in Thrace and Bulgaria.
In Bulgaria, one dancer (the kouker) is a man clad in goatskin. Another dancer (the koukerica), disguised in petticoats as the old woman or baba, has "her" face blackened.
Bears are represented by dogs wrapped in bearskins. A mock court is set up of a king and judge and other officials. The plays of the kouker and koukerica are wanton and lascivious.
The kouker and koukerica, the male and female mummers, represent Pluto and Persephone. These rituals are extant from East to West and represent the oldest of the religious festivals (J.Frazer, Golden Bough, viii, pp. 334-335).
Towards evening, two people are yoked to a plough and the kouker ploughs a few furrows and sows some corn. He then takes off his disguise and is paid for his trouble.
The people believe that the person who plays the kouker commits a deadly sin and the priests also make vain efforts to abolish the customs. The kouker in Losengrad district has a cake with money in it which is distributed to those present. If a farmer gets the coin, the crops will be good; if a herdsman gets it, the herds will be good. The kouker also symbolically ploughs the ground and waves to and fro to imitate the waving corn. The man with the coin is bound and dragged by the feet over the ground to quicken the fertility of the ground. This drawing by lot is reminiscent also of the Saturnalia sacrifice we saw above.
In Bulgaria itself, the festival has the Old Woman or Mother as the leading personage, played by a man in woman’s clothing. The kouker and koukerica are subordinate to the "Old Woman". They wear fantastic masks of human heads with animal horns or birds heads and skins with a girdle of lime bark. On their back is a hump made out of rags. This festival in Bulgaria, being the Monday of the last week of Carnival, is called Cheese Monday. It is nevertheless associated with the Ploughing festival.
Even if this plough dances disappeared from Romania, it remained, however, the custom called "the plough" or "the little plough", celebrated on the 31st of December. On this occasion, people are walking with the plough, from house to house, reciting greetings of prosperity for the year to come.
"Plough" at Bucharest, Romania at the beginning of the 20th century
Plough Monday in England was normally associated with a team of human plough bullocks, one of whom was disguised as an old crone called
Bessy. They went about leaping and dancing in high fashion presumably to make the corn grow as high as they leapt. This was similar to the practice of the Straw-bears or Yule-goats on the continent and elsewhere in UK.
The characters are the traditional grotesques of village festivals—the fool and the Hobby-horse, who represent worshippers disguised in skins of beasts, and the “Bessy,” the woman or man dressed in woman’s clothes. The latter custom is recorded as obtaining among the Germans by Tacitus. Some of the eastern midlands performances introduce farm-labourers. In both there is much dancing; at Revesby, the fool, and, in the eastern midlands the old woman, Dame Jane, are killed and brought to life again.
Plough Plays are the type of Mummers' play found in the East Midlands region of the UK. They are distinguished from Mummers' plays both by the fact that they are performed on Plough Monday (the first Monday after Twelfth Night), and by the names of the characters in them. For more details and discussion, see the article by Maurice Barley in the Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, Vol VII No 2, December 1953, p 68, with addenda in Vol VII No 3, p 184 and Vol VII No 4, p 249.
The calusari have many similarities to the English Morris dancers, wearing bells on the ankles or lower legs, and holding staffs. In addition to the similarities to the koukeri, the calusari also share some of the same characters as the Morris dancers, including the fool or harlequin. The
photo shows the Oxford University Morris dancers.
A dance very similar to Calusul is found in England under the name of Morris, MORISQUE or even MORRISK, in Austria, where the dancers are masked, it is called Perchten, and in the Latin America it is known as MORISCAS or santiagos. All the names spelled in uppercase letters, as well as Morris do not have any meaning in the corresponding languages and were not found their root words. However the root word exists and it is the Romanian word MORISCA, which means "the little mill". This suggests their origins as circular dances, similar to the millstone movement. Most probably, these dances were brought from Dacia by the Celts.
Morris dances were performed to celebrate the passing of the seasons (similarly to Greek Horae) and to ensure good harvests by waking up the god(s) of fertility to stir from winter (clashing of sticks and bashing the ground are symbolic of this function). The dancers frequently adorn their hats with flowers, which is also evocative of spring and good harvests. The ankle bells are thought to scare away evil spirits. The two most popular times of the year for ritual displays are May Day and Christmas.
A reference specifically indicating women dancing Morris can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary dated 1621.
The habit of painting dancers' faces black, frequently observed in the older forms of Morris dances (Border, Molly and Mumming Plays) is thought by some historians to reflect the Moorish origins. The painting of the face is present also in the dance of kaloushari and of koukeri, from the Balkans.
The painting of the faces or the wearing of masks was as a way of achieving anonymity for the dancers, since originally they were performing a ritual dance and were bound by oath to not reveal any of its secrets. Also, it allowed the dancers to detach themselves from their inhibitions whilst dancing.
While tattooing was common at the Thracians, in England it was present only at the enigmatic population of the Picts.
If Morris dancing was indeed put together more recently, the creators must have known about the other older ritual groups to create something so similar, and they must have known what they were doing, because they created a successful tradition which has continued to grow and spread.
"Anastenaria" is a festivity celebrated twice a year, in January, when it lasts for three days, and in May when it lasts for four days.
The custom was popular
among Christians in Constantinople in the 5th century. It was revived in
1922, in Thrace first.
Anastenarides, the modern Dionysus-Christians are living in small societies. These people hardly ever go to church but they own private temples called "Konaki" (lodges). Their top leader is "Saint's anastenariko icon" and their top prelate is Archianastenaris, who is a diviner, exorcist, therapist, and founder of temples and houses.
This tradition comes from the Vlach refugees fled from Eastern Rumelia (Rumelia="land of the Romans" in Turkish), to Greek Macedonia. It echoes analogous cults of the ancient Thracians related to the dead ancestors.
The ceremony starts on 20th May with animal sacrifices and the transfer of the icons of St. Constantine and Eleni from the village' s church to "Konaki", where sleeplessness and general preparation takes place. The most famous for this ritual is the village of St. Eleni.
In the morning of the 21st May, Anastenarides bring the icons to
Agiasma (holy water), a holy place in a small wood. These icons, which are
called "Hares", portray the holy couple of St. Constantine and St.
Eleni. According to Anastenarides, it's the "Hares" icons which
give them the ability to walk on fire.
The Konaki is, in fact, the substitute of the temple, while the Hares are the substitutes of its priestesses. In ancient Greece, each temple had 12 priestesses (called "Horae"), headed by a 13th member: the Great Mother-Goddess. In Babylon, they were named harines and in Israel, hors.
In the afternoon of the 21st May the holy fire is lit by a
particular mystic, who is entitled to it because of an ancestral heritage. The coal walkers are not ordinary people. They
all have the same origins and most of them are descendants of people who used
to perform the same ritual.
In Anastenaria the participants are dancing in a circle around the holy fire, while the music exasperates the soul, increases the rhythm and the volume. The dance can last for many hours before it culminates in the firewalking.
After a while the Saint shows the way and the first mystic occupied by the holy mania, walks barefoot on the coal fire and dances while he holds an icon or a holy hanky. The mystic's body is not harmed in any way during that time and that' s because of a chemical reaction which remains unknown to science.
After the first coal-walker, the 12 other walkers follow, and their ritual dance continues until the coal has cooled off.
The participants, especially when they are neophytes, are in an agony of suspense, uneasiness and agitation. They let out screams of grief and even when not dancing, are not aware of the presence of others. It seems as if most of them are trying to rid themselves of something that tortures them from inside. Grotowski seemed to have been fully aware of the fact that for the impulses to be unblocked the exhaustion of the body is necessary. They step onto the coals where they curse Evil with the words: "May it turn into ashes!’". The anastenarides try to extinguish the fire with their feet when they step on the coals as, in this way, they believe they will kill evil and diseases.
In the course of the Anastenaria ceremony, the participants claim to come in contact with their ancestors, who were also anastenarides, and the saints who protect the ritual. They also try to pass the custom on to the younger generations to affirm the unity and the continuity of the community. This Thracian worship, which has been preserved from the Ancient times, preserves many remains of the Dionysian worship and proves the uninterrupted continuation of dionysiasm until today. In other words, it is a Christianized form of the very old worship of Dionysus.
After the fiesta is finished, the anastenarides are talkative and telling jokes on the night of the last day, and their eyes portray a sublime serenity. They are saying "I feel young again". The participants regain the openness of a child.
FUNERARY & BIRTH DANCES
In ancient times, dances were widely used in the passing rites such as passing of the seasons, wedding celebrations and funerary celebrations. Such a passing rite was also the milling of the seeds. Was already mentioned that the name of the Morris dance comes from the Romanian word morisca, which means "the little mill". The Romanian word for mill is moara, which also means to die or dieing, while omoara means kill. Mara was the Hindu god of death and Moros was in Hesiod's Theogonia, a "divine being who's mother was the night". The Romanian word moroi means ghost.
In the village of Nerej, Vrancea county from Romania, the participants to the death watch while are wearing masks, are playing the funerary dance of farewell, around a brushwood fire which symbolize the sacred fire of the hearth.This dance is called the hora of death watch. The majority of masques are called "unchiaşi" (uncles). Other young boys are disguising into women, other into different animals such as the bear, and others into devils. All of them are dancing around the funerary fire.
The Etruscan women performed circular dances around the graves. It can be seen in the picture of the painting from a Etruscan grave from 500 BC. This kind of funerary dance can be seen in the aquarelle representing the grave of Ruvo Malfetta (= brother with bad fate) from 200 BC, encircled by dancing women dressed in the same way as the Etruscans, holding their hands and moving leftwards.
The dance is conducted by two men, a third one playing the lyre.
From these dances appeared the Tarantella, a well-known
Italian dance, which popular superstition assigns to witches. It is the awakening dance at their Treguenda, or
In the early twentieth century the well-known London singing teacher, Albert Visetti, reported in a London paper how on a visit to his native Dalmatia he had seen "the streets of the town teeming with dancers", all the people "leaving their work and trades to give themselves up to unbridled dance". In one town the cemetery, he says, was "the principal center of infection". Here one could see "girls women, sick people of all ages, men falling to the floor as though they were real epileptics some swallowing stones, pieces of broken glass and burning coals". The dance was "conducted by an “abbot”, who stood on a tomb and followed the scene from this point of vantage". And then "as a finale the abbot, with rare cleverness, would perform his favorite trick, the "saut de carpe" [somersault], which aroused in the onlookers an incredible enthusiasm".
circular dances, just like Tarantella and the Etruscan dances, were also performed
in the Cyclades islands. There, in a child's grave from 1200 BC, was found a
puppet with mobile legs, which has been used to suggest a dancer. On the
puppet's cloth are depicted women holding their hands in a circle dance.
Above them is depicted the Sun, suggesting the solar worship. On the puppet's
chest is represented a swastika, which suggests a cross with the arms bended
due to a circular leftwards motion, just like in the Etruscan and Italian
It has to be remarked the similitude of these funerary dances to the Berber tribal birthing ceremony. At this ritual, the women gather in a tent, while the men wait outdoors. A hollow is dug in the ground, where the mother-to-be sits. She is surrounded by concentric circles of women who dance with repeated abdominal movements while the woman gave birth.
John M. Allegro, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross. Garden City: Doubleday & Co., 1970
Dede Maria (1978), Dances and songs of Anastenaria, (in Greek), Thrakika, Athens
Eliade, Mircea (1978), From the Stone Age to the Mysteries of Eleusis. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Gousgounis Nikos (1981), Anastenaria : Un culte des ancentres morts en tant que Saints priotecteurs de village en
Kerenyi Karl (1976) Dionysus: Archetypal Images of Indestructible Life. London: Princeton.
Kligman, Gail, Calus, Universtiy of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1981
Vladimir Propp, Russkie agrarnye prazdniki 1963; reprint, Saint Petersburg: Azbuka, 1995
Anna Misopolinou, Ecstasy: a Source of Intimacy or Applications of the Dionysiac Model for Grotowski's Theatre
English Folk Dance & Song Society, Vol VII No 2, December 1953
Morris and Calusari Dancers Meet in Vancouver, Canada: "Cut From The Same Cloth?" by Norman Stanfield
The origins of Morris dance