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Sat, 10 Feb



Tales of Grandmother Plague

‘The village began to burn, from its four corners. It did not burn from fire, but it burned from illness. From illness, from the black plague.’ The Plague, Baba Chuma, in Bulgarian mythology an old woman searching for the people that she must strike. Here are some of the stories of those people.

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Tales of Grandmother Plague
Tales of Grandmother Plague

Time & Location

10 Feb 2024, 19:30 – 21:00 GMT


About the Event

A young woman must marry across nine villages to the tenth; a place far away for the old bones of her mother to visit. As the mother laments for the daughter she will lose to far off lands, a greater loss occurs - the plague comes to the village. A mythic tragedy about the illness, loss, and fate.

The plague does not take lovers, she is merciful towards love some say. Yet, sometimes she is not. 

'You are beautiful Rada, the Plague told her,

Beautiful, but stupid.

Whilst I strike your betrothed Stoyan,

Nine more shepherds will pass. And the tenth - young Stoyan.

In mythic songs, after much struggle and torment, good prevails.  But in the traditional plague-themed songs and stories, there is only fear, grief, and a fate that cannot be changed. 

The Plague, so frightenening, that even God, who sent her to take the lives he asked for, quivered under a leaf on the ground. With time, people stopped looking in the heavens for the God who had abandoned them, and started to look for the holy upon the earth. They looked in the plants, they looked to the animals, they looked for the hands that might save them. 

In these stories there is death. In these stories there is no hatred. In these stories there could be mercy. In these stories there should be light.

Join me on Bulgarian Plague Day - Chuminden- to hear traditional stories about 'the aunty', the 'merciful one', in order to appease her. These tales have been passed from mouth to mouth in the form of songs and stories for centuries. Tales of the Plague are not told lightly so not to anger her. Please bring a candle with you, and honey. Honey is the traditional offering to Grandmother Plague so that she is sweetened and therefore merciful.

After the event, there will be an opportunity for people to stay and discuss the stories. For dark stories need to be brought into the light.

Artwork: Rosalie Lettau


  • PWYC ( price guide below)

    This event is by donation. Here are some suggestions for the amount you pay: £3- £5- if you are unwaged or struggle to meet your basic needs. £6- £8- If you sometimes meet your basic needs. £9 - £12- if you regularly meet your basic needs. £13 or more- if you comfortably meet your basic needs and have expendable income.

    Pay what you want
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