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Published: 01-07-2014 Hits: 342

Old, almost forgotten expression „panadžur“ means fair. That old name still exists in east and south east Serbia mostly in villages that carry on old tradition. One of those villages is Jalovik Izvor just beneath the rock peak of Babin zub (Grandmaa’s tooth) on Stara planina (literaly Old mountain). Every 15-th of August, on Dormition of Mother of God, a big fair, or festival is brought to life. Many cultural societies from around, brass orchestras and artisans and craftsmen of all kind, gather here. This is true old style village fair, or as they say „panadžur“.

From the break of the dawn, brass orchestras start to play traditional folk music, special kind of bread calles „kravajčići“ is baked in wood stoves, yoghurt and cheese are offered to visitors, a flour and cheese meal called „belmuž“ is prepared along with a plethera of other meals and sweets from south east Serbia. One can hardly pass by and resist to taste a little bit of everything, which, at the end, turns out to be a good and ample breakfast. A healthy intro to lunch. Being there, you simply have to buy at least one peace of pottery or a pot (no matter that you already have a few in your kitchen but none of it has an inscription „Greetings from Stara planina“), perhaps a camouflage jacket (although you already have more than few jackets, but you don’t have one like this) and a handfull of souvenirs and other sundries. Among that, a jar of strawberry or blackberry jam is a must. To put it in one word, you can’t leave a fair empty handed. It simply isn’t right.

And, while on a concrete stage brass bands blow their trumpets and pump the rhytm, down, on a grass, children perform traditional dances. It is time for you to sit under some marquee and savour some pork or lamb roast, just taken from the barbecue and cut as soon as it chills a little bit. A glass of cold beer chilled in well goes perfectly along. If you are not fond of beer you can choose between dark and yellow juice – dark is some kind of Cola-like beverage, while yellow is sparkling orange juice. Under „more classy“ marquees, you can even have Coca Cola.

Until you have seen it all, tasted pork roast and nibble ribs, you haven’t realised that it is way past noon, and it is time for lunch. Than you can have lamb soup while waiter will bring you a new bowl of salad without even asking you. So, you are sipping your soup and dipping your „kravajče“ but there comes another round of pork or lamb roast. How to resist to try that new „piglett“ or lamb? Kidds are dancing their seventh folk dance which you can hear and see only at the Dormition of Mother of God fair at the village of Jalovik Izvor on the foothills of Babin zub peak at Stara planina mountain.

Tourist organisation of the town of Knjaževac work hard, and you have to give them a credit for that, to promote and uphold such fairs, festivities and gatherings to preserve the tradition of this part of Serbia. If for any other reason, then you should come to such an event because it’s cheerful, colorful and will make you feel literally at home. Warm atmosphere shall relax you, „recharge your batteries“ and in the late afternoon you will go home filled with images, scents, sounds of long forgotten times. You will forget the rush, stress, duties and fast food...

You will be a part of a comotion, overwhealmed by deafening rumble coming from the concrete stage, but in the end you will be happy to have been a part of Dormition of Mother of God fair. Surely you’ll have what to talk about with your fellow travelers while on way back from the fair. Crickets will be singing their tune, some of few street lights shall peak though the greenery by the road, while your nostrils will be full of scents from woods and wild strawberries jam from the jars you have bought at the fear, as it doesn’t make sense to go to bed without a small, sweet bite, just to sweeten your dreams before tomorrow’s new adventure deeper in the mountain, to one of many waterfalls, meadows or small hills.. or you will choose to stay in bed until noon, „intoxicated“ with fresh and scented mountain air. Do not worry, that odd smell is actually an oxygen.

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