Copceac: Patronal Festival and Baur

How can you experience and be charmed by genuine rural flair? The best way to find your answer is to visit the Village Patronal Festival. Patronal festival is how “Village Day” is referred to in Moldova, with the only difference that, as a rule, patronal festivals are timed to coincide with Eastern Orthodox Holidays.

Copceac is a village in the South of Gagauzia that celebrates its patronal festival on Assumption Day, August 28. When you come to Copceac on the day of the festival, you immediately realize that the people who live there really love their home. Neatly cleaned streets, flags across the road, umbrellas placed in such a way that you can hide from the August heat, and also delicious street food, which is everywhere, crowned by a gala concert and award of certificates of honor to honored residents of the village.

In Gagauzia, the end of August is the hottest time of year. The mercury can rise up to 35⁰ C.  In this red-hot atmosphere, villagers young and old celebrate the birthday of the place where they live. In addition to the official ceremony in the square, everyone celebrates as he or she wants. Some celebrate at home with their nearest and dearest, others go out and organize chess competitions, or play dominos or checkers – there are as many options as you could imagine.

In addition to spontaneous sport events there are also well-organized sport tournaments, which take place in the local house of sport.  They include table tennis and other games, but the most spectacular is free-style wrestling. Wrestlers from all over Moldova come to Copceac to take part in the tournament, and the main prize is a ram, which is awarded to the winner. The strongest gets it all.

At the same time, teenagers hold football matches in the main stadium of the village. Hiding from the heat under newspapers and trying to catch shade from the branches of nearby trees, spectators follow the course of the game with great interest.

One of the symbols of Copceac is Baur, which is a traditional Gagauzian meat dish.  It is prepared and cooked from finely chopped pork seasoned with salt, thyme, red and black pepper as well as other herbs and spices.  Proportions of herbs and spices are different every time, but the original recipe is ancient, and in this form, it was preserved only in Copceac.  Local authorities plan to register Baur as a trade mark, with the brand of this national Gagauzian dish.

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