Vevčani is a small village near the Ochrid lake which is the home of an interesting carnival for the New Year (Julian calendar, January 14) with pagan routes. The locals are dressed most commonly in scary costumes and make a parade around the village streets.
I wanted to experience this interesting carnival, so I thought I might visit during the same day and go back. I already was in the North of Greece, so a trip to Vevčani was not that far. Just to be on the safe side I decided to travel to a nearby village and spend the night there so that I could make an early start to Vevčani the other day. So I spend this night in Struga, a village along the Ochrid lake, nearby the town of Ochrid.
I slept quite early since there was not much to do in this village at night. I took the time to make a small stroll, only to come back to my room after a few minutes with some food. I had met Christine during the day, a friend photographer who lives in Struga and she told me that they go out to the nearby town of Ochrid during the night where she invited me over. However I was somewhat tired and since I wanted to be fresh in the morning, I politely passed.
In the next morning, we set off with my friend Christine to the village of Vevčani. I was very fortunate to have her since she spoke the language and she could help me interpret any directions I may want to give to take pictures, or even to go around the place. Most of the people there would not speak English, so the communication would have been difficult without her.
Going around the village, I first met some folks, dressed with Scottish quilts, with a few monsters in their company. They gave me to drink strong homemade alcohol, I am not sure what it was, but I gladly obliged.
After that, I thought I might go along the main street and try to find some more interesting outfits to make images of. I have found an interesting group of guys who had been dressed as a kind of skeletons that looked interesting to me. I asked my friend Christine to ask them to stand in front of an interesting field to use as background and pose for me. They were happy to do so, so I took a few photos of them.
After that, I strolled around the main road and made a few candid images, of dressed people passing by.
Finally, I found a group of friends, dressed in very interesting and meticulously prepared costumes. I followed them and went to their house where they were getting ready. I managed to make some images of them during their preparation and they were also kind enough to pose for me in a few situations. I found the house architecture really interesting, so I wanted to make some images in front of their houses.
I hung out a little bit longer in the streets, they had a very nice lunch at a local restaurant and started my way back home to Athens which was a rather long drive. I've heard that they would be doing another kind of ritual by the local river at two or three in the following morning but unfortunately didn't have the time to stay until then. Maybe I will do next time. Anyway, from my experience I know that I usually don't make great images during the night, so I didn't push myself too far.