So, we conquered the Earth. We climbed its highest pick, several times; we explored its deepest depths, several times also; we thought that we reproduced a black hole in the lab, well things did not really go well, but we tried; we discovered God’s particle; we think that we solved the global warming caused by planetary cycles, or is it caused by man? All right, never mind global warming!
Seriously, did we really conquered the Earth?
We have a few thousands of years of recorded history of human presence on Earth. And we managed to accomplish some of the tasks I mention in the introduction, tasks which by no means are not negligible. They are proof of years of evolution and improvement of the humans specie. But from there to conquering the Earth, is still a long way to go.
For a few weeks, in my part of the world we had temperatures common to Equator only, and the humidity was not too far behind either. The land is scorched, and it is questionable if we will have too many crops this year. Even if we get the needed rain in normal quantity, it is questionable that we can salvage it.
What is happening in this part of the world, has happened lately all over the world. We are just experiencing it now, and while others learned to survive, we are just in the beginning of the learning process.
For some who claimed to conquered the Earth, the present situation is sort of “into your face situation”. It seems that we are as masters of the Earth as Owango, and his descendent Owangoo, Peter Rogerson’s clever characters, were at the time. The drought was as much solved by them, as it is solved by us today…
Maybe Owangoo and his forefather discovered a better way to solve the drought problem. It was not a sure way, however it gave them hope and let them wait for the next day, with a cooler, more livable conditions. Just about the way we do today, a few thousand years down the road…
The day-to-day experience thought those ancestors of ours that somehow, if the put a seed in the dirt, given proper moisture and proper care, it will grow to bear a fruit which they will eat. However, when there was no moisture, the seed never popped out of the land, the plant did not grow and the year was bad. People invented gods who given the proper bribe, would give the moisture when needed. Of course, gods were unpredictable characters, and no matter how much bribe their received, they did not keep their bargain.
Then people started to perform special rituals which were supposed to convince the gods to help them out.
Rituals related to the agrarian cycles are the first ones recorded by humans. In one form or another they are present in all old cultures. The rain makers were given special consideration at the time when rain was make it or break it for the food of the year.
I remember when I was a little boy in the Old Country some of those rituals performed in small villages, far away from civilization.
This particular ritual was very time dependent, being performed around Eastern, the period of the year when the agricultural cycle for the year starts, and when rain was more important than any other natural element. However, if at that time the ritual was a precaution, there were times when it was also performed as a necessity in the months of May and June, sometime even July.
It was wide-spread in the Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia, in former Yugoslavia. It still survives in that part of the world and it is limited in its form in the area mentioned. These days, the custom is performed by Slavic population, however it is believed that originated with the Thracians occupying the land before the Slaves arrived.
The custom is called “Paparuda” and is named the same with local linguistic nuances, originating with the same gods who ruled the region at the time.
Basically, the ritual is nothing more than a sexual interpretation of the fecundity process. The Sky had to make love to the Earth in order for the crop to grow. The Sky was sending his sperm, the rain, into the Earth which was germinating the seeds.
I doubt that the Thracians were thinking along those line exactly, however those who studied the old customs and the origins of the modern religions express the belief that everything was nothing more than an allegory of the process of creation. Mircea Eliade wrote extensively on those rituals, and Sorin Paliga dedicated considerable time to the etymology of the word itself.
The custom has its roots in Paganism, however it was one of those rituals which crossed over to Christianity and it is performed without a real conflict even today.
Although the “Paparuda” ritual common over an area which is independent of the modern administrative divisions, there are different ways in its performance depending on the specific village.
Paparuda is a goddess invoked to produce the needed rain for the future crops. The invocation is made by young girls usually, although there are boys involved in certain areas. The reason for having young girls around ten-thirteen years of age, the start of the menstrual cycle, is symbolizing the beginning of the Nature annual revival. In the past, the girls were dressed up in skirts made of tree branches with leaves on them to cover their naked bodies. They used to go from house to house to do a song and a dace. Mainly they were asking the goddess to offer the rain necessary to grow whatever crop the villager was growing. The hostess threw buckets of water on the dancers, which were running away, because the water was cold. Usually, after the invocation, the dancers were offered food. Traditionally, the girls chosen to take part were from the poor of the villages, and that was a way to offer food for their family.
In certain parts of Romania, the dancers were mostly young gypsy women. No one else wanted to do. Because it was a pagan custom, the Christians did not feel comfortable with doing it, although they wanted to be done at their houses. The gypsy women were not considered to high on the honor scale, mostly because they were performing activities considered as black magic.
When I witnessed the rituals a couple of times, it was in the middle of the Summer with a long and persistent drought, and people were not only desperate about their food, but the live stock was in peril. I am not so sure that too many of the young generation took the ritual seriously, however the elderly were very respectful and full of hope. It was funny, of course I did not really understand that at the time, I was too young and not the rebel I am today, but when the dancers were entering the gate of a house, the hostess use to bless them with the sign of the cross and people were saying small prayers. I am sure that it was a pure coincidence, however in both instances that I witnessed, three days later, the flood gates to the skies broke open and it rained enough to salvage whatever was slotted for a later time in the season…
I don’t know if anyone performs the rituals as they used to, however they are doing them at festivals on stages. No, the girls are not really fit for the age, and although they have prop of branches with leaves, they are fully dressed in local costumes.
Hey, I am a proud member of the generation who conquered the Earth, but if this crap keeps going at this pace, I am going to start learning the “Paparuda” song, cover myself in branches with leaves and start going from house to house to bribe the goddess for some rain!!!
P.S. I will make sure that whatever skin will be visible, will be soaked in sunscreen lotion with a high degree of UV protection!!!