Sunday, July 11, 2010

Petrovdan-St Peter's Day

Tonight Ljilja and I went to visit one of our favourite families in the Sponsorship Project: the Berics: Sinisa, Milka, Stojanka and Stefan (who is the sponsored child). We didn't realise that it was "Lile" tonight. Tomorrow is Petrovdan (St Peter's day) and the tradition is that "lile" are lit on the eve of Petrovdan. I knew of the tradition of lighting tyres for Petrovdan, which I guess is the updated version of "lile", but it is supposed to be torches made on stakes with bark and bonfires only out of natural wood, grass or twigs: which is what the Berics do!

As they live high on the hills above Banja Luka, we could see the smoke from other fires all around Banja Luka - some of them with thick dark smoke from burning tyres... which although illegal, people still do! The tradition is supposed to remind one of the times when people were burned alive at the stake.

Here are Stojanka and Stefan with their "Lile" in front of one of the three bonfires which they lit...
 Here is Ljilja in front of one of the fires:
And Milka and I (supporting Holland in our orange!) in between the bonfires:
It was really fun to unexpectedly be involved in a very interesting tradition: and see how happy the kids were playing with their torches... much better than burning tyres!

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