The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria

The clock was ticking. It was getting dark and more people were going out in the streets, dressed as carnivals, ready to have some good time. You could hear Balkan music everywhere.
Photography / Text: Vaggelis Kousioras

It was 2005. I was shooting photos with a film camera. It was the time when my room was also a darkroom. The enlarger was right next to my bed on a small table. My bed was used for putting on the baths and the chemicals. The window was covered with black trash bags.

The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria - Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria
Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria - Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria
Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
  

I knew that i would have some days off from my work the same time that the Ragoutsaria in Kastoria city would take place. So, i found a room in a hotel, a few weeks before the event. ( if you are planning to visit Kastoria these days, you should definitely search for a room before the event).

You could hear Balkan music everywhere. 

I reached Kastoria in the morning. It was cold. I found my hotel and then i got out for some street photography. At that time of my life i was moving as a street photographer. Walking around, not interested a lot about the story but actually about the one photo itself.

The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria - Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria
Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras

It was not hard to find something to photograph because the streets were full. There were people walking around dressed as carnivals and also street musicians playing Balkan music. Some barrels were put outside the bars full of wood. It was not hard to understand why... The tourists were walking around or trying to find an empty table inside a bar. The city was so much full of music and laughing and good vibes..

The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria - Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria
Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria - Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria
Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria - Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria
Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras

I was entering inside the city's bars and traditional coffee shops, following and photographing a small team of street musicians. The people were giving them money and alcohol and roast meat. I was given some alcohol and meat too. (but not money ).

A few hours before i left Kastoria city, the owner of the hotel asked me to meet his daughter. He told me that she was very shy and if i liked her, we could talk about our engagement! 

The clock was ticking. It was getting dark and more people were going out in the streets, dressed as carnivals, ready to have some good time. You could hear Balkan music everywhere. There were fires in the barrels. Hundreds of people inside and outside the bars. You could smell the alcohol around you..

The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria - Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria
Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras

It's been so many years since that moment and it's kind of hard to remember some things. I know that there was a big parade crossing the central streets of the city. Thousands of people having a great time and making a great noise. I don't remember if this parade was only for a night or it was taking place every night for these three days.

I used b&w and also color film. I was alone. I was walking around and making photos. Eating and then making photos. Sleeping and then making photos. I spent my three days like this and then took my bag and returned back to my city and my lovely room-darkroom.

The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria - Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria
Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras

The extra funny thing about that photo trip was this: A few hours before i left Kastoria city, the owner of the hotel asked me to meet his daughter. He told me that she was very shy and if i liked her, we could talk about our engagement! After that, i left as fast as i could.

The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria - Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria
Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras

The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria - Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria
Greece. Western Macedonia. Kastoria. © Vaggelis Kousioras
#travel #carnival #fiesta #custom #traditional #balkanmusic #ragoutsaria #lake #kastoria #film #street #music #fires #balkan #pagan

Location

The custom of Ragoutsaria in Kastoria

2-18 Agiou Athanasiou Kastoria
Kastoria, Western Macedonia, Greece