National Costume Festival «Gagauz Gergefi»
Holidays in Gagauzia, attract to the culture and customs of the Gagauz people.
The purpose of the festival, is promotion of national traditions in clothing, the creation of conditions for the formation of interest in arts and crafts, the preservation and development of traditional national culture.
National festival “Hederlez”
Holidays in Gagauzia are famous far beyond the region and the country. One of the most important national holidays of Gagauzia is “Hederlez”, which apparently has its roots in paganism.
Today, this holiday, celebrated on may 5-6, is associated with a large number of various customs and rituals. The main significance of the holiday is the victory of “summer” over winter, heat over cold. It is during this period that it is customary to drive out domestic animals to pastures, and bring them into the house for the winter, in November. In addition, on this day, in all the churches of Gagauzia, in honor of the patron Saint of Autonomy – George the Victorious, are held divine liturgies. Usually, young people and all relatives return from abroad to their homes, to meet „Hederles” with their families and loved ones.
The word „Hederlez” most likely comes from the Turkic “Kedwrlez”, which means turkish St. George’s Day. And since George is the patron Saint of Gagauzia, it is generally accepted that the name of the Hederlez holiday comes from the turkik language.
In addition, George is the patron of agriculture and cattle breeding, for which the Gagauz people are famous for. If we turn to history, we can find George from Cappodocia, who lived back in the time of Diocletian. This was a glorified warrior who adopted Christianity and suffered for his faith. It was this George who killed the dragon snake (symbol of paganism) and saved the princess (church), which was given to be eaten by a snake. However, apparently, the Hederlez holiday was celebrated earlier than George lived.
The culmination of the holiday is a sacrifice. Among the Gagauz people, it is customary to sacrifice ruminant animals (lamb, ram), while male, without flaws.
In various settlements of Gagauzia, Hederlez is celebrated differently. In Comrat, for example, in the capital of Gagauzia, on this day a large festival is organized, a festival of dances and songs, in which creative teams from the CIS countries and from Asian countries take part. The festival begins with a festive procession along the main street of the city, in which people are dressed in national costumes and with flags.
In the village of Besalma, it is customary to sit down at the festive table, after the festive church service.
Also on May 6, at the territory of the AT-Proline horse farm, in the city Ceadirr-Lunga, in the days of Hederlez, horse racings “Altyn At” (Golden Horse) are held, the main prize of which is a young lamb. On the farm, national courtyards are exhibited, a parade of creative teams takes place. After the races, the holiday goes to the central square of the city, where the concert takes place.
Carpet festival «Gagauz Koraflari»
The history of carpet weaving in Gagauzia has deep roots. Among the nomadic Turkic tribes, carpet weaving was very popular and necessary.
Some scientists believe that such tribes brought this craft to Europe. Then carpets were not so much an object of sale, as a necessary item in everyday life. In addition, each bride had to have her own carpets in her dowry. This meant that the young girl is diligent, likes to work and is patient. That’s why every woman knew how to make a carpet.
The “Gagauz koraflari” carpet festival is held every year in the village of Gaidar. The Gaidar Patterns Carpet Weaving Center, has been operating in this village for several years. This center tries to revive the old traditions of carpet weaving, and attracts the younger generation to this type of folk art. This center decided to organize an annual carpet festival, which is now famous throughout the country. Masters of carpet making, gather in Gaidar and exhibit their best works, find buyers, and exchange experience.
This village, at one time, was famous for the originality of technology, ornaments and patterns on carpets. And here every member of the family, including men, was able to weave carpets, produce their own looms.
National festival “Hederlez”
One of the main festivals of Gagauzia is the wine day “Gagauz Şarap Yortusu”, traditionally held in early November. It marks the end of one and the start of a new wine season in Moldova. This is an important event where wine lovers can, in a friendly atmosphere, share the joy of harvesting with winemakers and winegrowers, and taste the wine of the last harvest.
Every year, about 100 major wineries from all over the Republic, participate in the wine day in Gagauzia. Almost all localities in the region are involved in the holiday. Each of them represents its own specifics, traditions and customs. Of course, the rich gastronomic and wine-making traditions also attract foreign travelers.
Specially for the guests of the festival, are prepared various stands with crafts from folk artists, stands with culinary products and wine. Guests of the Gagauz Wine Day, take part in the cultural programs, tastings, fairs, and sports competitions.
Folk concerts are organised, including performances by various folk groups, folk dances, traditional rituals and a favorite part of many – the harvest parade. All this and much more is presented to the participants and guests. Of course, everyone can take part in the process of making wine. Anyone who wants to roll up their trousers and put on rubber boots can stand in a barrel of grapes, and start trampling freshly picked grapes. All this, takes place under the national music and cheers of the audience.
Song Festival “Bucak Sesleri”
Performers from more than 10 countries of the world, including Belarus, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania and, of course, Moldova, come to Gagauz Autonomy to the annual „Bucak Sesleri” ethnic song festival, held in June.
Gagauzia, as the host of the festival, has the right to represent two performers at once. The location of the festival changes every year – Comrat, the villages of Baurchi, Congaz, Cazaclia, Joltai. All participants of the competition perform two songs each. One is in the language of the country that the performer represents, and the second is a world hit, at the choice of the performer himself.