Τα ρουσάλια - Men's song for Easter Monday
– Greetings to you, lord and master, noble lord and gentleman,
shall we sing you the Roussalia? – Sing them, pray, my hearty fellows.
– You shall be the first to hear them, for we’ve found you on your doorstep.
Next we’ll sing them for your lady, your comely red-haired lady.
‘In a well-stocked flower garden, bay and apple tree were squabbling.
– Bay, you stole one of my branches. – If I did, then may the river
bear me to the western ocean nigh the crystal fountain,
there where Jewish women launder and where Turkish women lather’.
– Put your right hand in your pocket, that one which is lined with silver
take the five-and-twenty coin and give it him who has the salver.
Then we’ll tell you ‘Christ is Risen!’, he was buried and has risen.
Translated by John Leatham
Καλώς σ’ έ- καλώς σ’ έ- καλώς σ’ εύραμε αφέντη,
άρχοντά μου και λεβέντη.
Να στα πού- να στα πού- να στα πούμε τα ρουσάλια,
πέστε τα βρε παλικάρια.
Να στα πούμε εσένα πρώτα, που σε βρήκαμε στην πόρτα
κι εξ υστέρου της κυράς μας και της ρουσοπέρδικάς μας.
Κάτω σ’ ένα περιβόλι, δάφνη και μηλιά μαλώνει.
Δάφνης πήρα εγώ κλωνάρι, να με πάρει το ποτάμι1
να με πάει τη δύση-δύση, κάτω στη γυαλένια βρύση
όπου πλένουν Οβριοπούλες, σκαματίζουν2 Τουρκοπούλες.
Βάλε το δεξί σου χέρι μες στην αργυρή σου τσέπη,
βγάλε το εικοσιπεντάρι, δώσ’ το του σαχανατάρη3
να σας πούμε Χριστός Ανέστη, που ετάφη και ανέστη.
1Ο στίχος παρουσιάζει κάποιο πρόβλημα. Άλλες παραλλαγές αποδίδουν καλύτερα την έριδα των δύο δέντρων:
– Δάφνη πήρες μου κλωνάρι;
– Αν σου πήρα εγώ κλωνάρι, να με πάρει το ποτάμι...
3σαχανατάρης: ο ταμίας της παρέας
This song is the central feature of the custom called ayermόs observed every Easter Monday at Megara in Attica. Parties of youngsters, drawn from different neighbourhoods, make a ceremonious round of all the houses in the village. They hold aloft a cross decorated with flowers and secured by a kerchief to the top of a pole and a small similarly decorated basket, such as is used on the feast of Lazarus for the collection of eggs. They sing this nature- worshipping song, composed of rhyming couplets of trochaic eight-syllable lines, and dance to a slow measure known as ‘triple-time’. They are rewarded with eggs and money, collected by the appointed ‘treasure’ of each party, the sahanatàris, so-named from the sahan, the copper pan he carries for the purpose.
Both its name and the flower-decked accessories of the custom associate the latter with practices observed in the worship of the dead, which dominates the Easter period. The high-point of these practices is the homonymous, if ceremonially quite different, Rosalia Saturday, that is the day before Pentecost on which are commemorated the souls of all the dead. A day of great sadness, for on it souls return to their erstwhile worldly abodes, it is marked by symposia held at gravesides and by offerings to the dead. It is a curious fact that other feasts bear the same name though held at other times of the year (during the Twelve Days of Christmas and in Carnival) and with a different ceremonial.
Scholars maintain that the Greek word Roussàlia has its origin in the Roman feast of roses, the Rosalia, which gradually came to be associated with worship of the dead, so lending its name to a number of springtime usages. It is held that the spirit of death is the same as the one that imbues -and unites- these apparently disparate customs, all of which are observed at times of the year when popular belief has it that souls are at large in the upper world. Miranda Terzopoulou (1998)
Domna Samiou taped the song in Megara, Attiki, at the home of Tassos Fourtoulakis, in 1997.