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  Panagirs, village gatherings
THE PEOPLEPanagirs, village gatheringsPANAGIRS, VILLAGE GATHERINGS /

In Strandzha Mountain the fairs ("panagyrs") are usually organized in summer. The winter patrons - St. Athanasius and St. Nicholas used to be celebrated, especially in the nestinar villages. But the most revered saint patrons are: St.St.Constantine and Helena, St.Elias, St.Marina, St. Pantaleimon/Pantaleon, The Great Virgin Mary, The Holy Spirit, The Holy Trinity, St.John the Baptist, St.George and St.Demetrius. The "panagyrs" in Strandzha Mountain do not bear the names of the villages (e.g "the gathering/fair of the village of…"), but those of saints (e.g "the panagyr of St.Marina").
Usually the village gathering takes place on the patron saint's day. They take an important place in the traditional culture of the Orthodox population in Southeastern Europe. Most often besides the church mass, the basic elements are the family offering gatherings, family reunions, "horo" dances and markets. Common village offering gatherings are seldom organized. Especially in the remote mountain regions, far from the town centers and thoroughfares, these holidays have jealously kept their religious importance. Such an area is the inner part of Strandzha Mountain.
The fair usually takes place close to the local church, chapel or holy spring (ayasmo). Various rituals are performed, offerings made and "horo" dances played. Guests, coming from other villages attend the fairs there.

 
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