“Prayer under Midžor” is a festival that takes place every year on St. George’s Day (6th of May) in the villages of Vrtovac and Balta Berilovac at the gate of Stara Planina.
The touristic and economic manifestation “Djurđevdanski susreti – Prayer under Midžor” takes place in the villages of Vrtovac and Balta Berilovac (35 km from Knjaževac).
The first part of the Manifestation takes place on St. George’s Day, the 6th. May, in the village of Vrtovac. Đurđevdan is a village tradition known as one of the most joyful ritual holidays celebrating the power of spring and nature. Through ritual, the power of nature is “transmitted” to people, livestock and crops. St. George’s Day begins with the harvesting of flowers and herbs on Billiard Friday and the ritual weaving of wreaths on the river.
The celebration continues with the first beating of the sheep, and on the day of Slava, a ritual procession goes around the cell in Vrtovac – a litany, the cheese is consecrated, the area around the cell is decorated with flowers and herbs of the mountain woman, a woman who represents the spirit of nature. The most significant act of the ritual is the slaughter of a black male lamb decorated with a wreath and a lit candle on its horn, which the Budžak people call “Molitva”.
The second part of the Manifestation takes place in the village of Balta Berilovac and begins with the blessing and invitation of the Chaja – the leader of St. George’s Day festivities, to the shepherds and the people. Then follows the cultural and artistic program, sports and fun shepherd’s games, selection of the most beautiful shepherdess from Budzak, competition in the preparation of old dishes.
At the Manifestation, you can also see old crafts, show medicinal herbs and their application.
St. George’s Day meetings – Prayer under Midjor is a combination of Christian and pagan customs.
In the celebration of St. George’s Day, an abundance of customs, beliefs and magical actions have been preserved, which have a role to ensure the progress and health of the family, livestock and crops. Đurđevdan has been nominated for the UNESCO list, the holder of the proposal is the Native Museum of Knjaževac, and the proposer is the Ethnographic Museum of Belgrade.