Pihtijada in Rumenka anathemized by Serbian Orthodox Church

A food festival showcasing aspic dishes traditionally held in Rumenka near Novi Sad has been postponed after a warning issued by the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC).

Bishop of Backa Irinej “threatened that organizers would be anathematized by the Church, and have death bells toll for them,” Belgrade-based daily Blic writes, if they went ahead and held this “pagan gathering” during Great (Easter) Lent, when Orthodox believers abstain from eating meat and other animal products.

The bishop also told organizers of the event – dubbed Pihtijada after the Serbian word for aspic – that the only service the Church would allow them is the christening of their children, “who are not to blame for their parents’ sin and folly.”

Organizer Branislav Popovic told the newspaper there may not be a Pihtijada this year at all – “as it will be too warm after Easter” – whereas it was too cold to organize it earlier – because “nobody would have turned up in sub-zero weather.”

“There were supposed to be a hundred participants from all parts of Serbia and the region, I didn’t want people to experience unpleasantness and for us, Rumenka residents, to quarrel. The pressure was huge and we gave up,” said Popovic, whose event, the daily remarked, “holds the Guinness record for the longest aspic.”

“Priests have a say in everything, so it’s about time they took part in elections, too,” Popovic has been quoted as saying.

Another meat-themed festival in Serbia’s northern province of Vojvodina has been postponed – Kulenijada, named after a type of spicy sausage.

The organizer, the Tourist Organization in the town of Bac, said they would hold the event after Easter. “We had no problems with the Church, nor has anyone written to us, we made the decision by ourselves,” they said.

(B92, 06.03.2017)


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