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Peperuda in Bulgaria. 1950s

Dodola (also spelled Doda, Dudulya and Didilya, pronounced: doh-doh-la, doo-doo-lya, or dee-dee-lya) also known under the names Paparuda, Perperuna or Preperuša is a pagan tradition found in the Balkans. A girl, wearing a skirt made of fresh green knitted vines and small branches, sings and dances through the streets of the village, stopping at every house, where the hosts sprinkle water on her. She is accompanied by the people of the village who dance and shout on the music. The custom has attributed a specific type of dance and a specific melody.

According to some interpretations, Dodola is a Slavic goddess of rain,[1] and the wife of the supreme god Perun (who is the god of thunder). Slavs believed that when Dodola milks her heavenly cows, the clouds, it rains on earth. Each spring Dodola is said to fly over woods and fields, and spread vernal greenery, decorating the trees with blossoms.[citation needed]


The custom is known by two names, mostly spelled Dodola (dodole, dudula, dudulica, dodolă) and Perperuna (peperuda, peperuna, perperuna, prporuša, preporuša, paparudă, pirpirună). Both names are used by the South Slavs and Romanians.

The name Perperuna is identified as a feminine personification of the great god Perun.[citation needed] Sorin Paliga suggested that it was a divinity from the local Thracian substratum.[2] The name of Dodola is possibly cognate with the Lithuanian word for thunder: dundulis.[2]

D. Decev compared the word "dodola" (also dudula, dudulica, etc.) with Thracian anthroponyms (personal names) and toponyms (place names), such as Doidalsos, Doidalses, Dydalsos, Dudis, Doudoupes, etc.[3] Paliga argued that based on this, the custom most likely originated from the Thracians.[2]

A much more likely explanation for the variations of the name Didilya is that this is a title for the spring goddess Lada/Lela that got turned into the "name" of a goddess. Ralston explains that dido, means “great” and is usually used in conjunction with the spring god Lado.[4] Lamus Dworski states that Lada or Lela is called Didilela/Dzidzileyla/Zizilia meaning "Heiress Lela" or "Queen Lela." [5] Thus, Dida, Didilela, Didilya, Doda, Dodol, Dodola, Dudulya, Dudylya, Dzidzileyla, Dzidzililya, Zezylia, Zizilia and Zyzylas all mean "Great Lela" or "Lady Lela" and is the same goddess as Lada, Ladana, Ladja, Lala, Leda, Lela, Lelja, Lelya, Lejia, Lel, Lele, Leli, Lila, Liola, Ljelije, Lola, Yleli. </ref>


South Slavs used to organise the Dodole (or Perperuna) festival in times of drought, where they worshipped the goddess and prayed to her for rain. In the ritual, young women sing specific songs to Dodola, accompanying it by a dance, while covered in leaves and small branches. In Croatia Dodole is often performed by folklore groups.

In folklore of Turopolje on the holidays of St. Juraj called Jurjevo five most beautiful maidens are picked to portray Dodola goddesses in leaf-dresses and sing for the village till the end of the holiday.

Croatian ritual chant sung by youngsters going through the village in the dry, summer months.

Naša dodo Boga moli,

Da orosi sitna kiša,

Oj, dodo, oj dodole!

Mi idemo preko sela,

A kišica preko polja,

Oj, dodo, oj, dodole!

Dodole in Macedonia[edit]

The oldest record for Dodole rituals in Macedonia is the song "Oj Ljule" from Struga region, recorded in 1861.[6]

Macedonian Transliteration

^ "ој љуле, ој!" is repeated in every verse

^ "oj ljule, oj!" is repeated in every verse

The Dodole rituals in Macedonia were active held until the 1960s.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Radosavljevich, Paul Rankov (1919). Who are the Slavs?: A Contribution to Race Psychology. Original from the University of Michigan: The Gorham Press. p. 19. 
  2. ^ a b c Sorin Paliga: "Influenţe romane și preromane în limbile slave de sud" .pdf Archived December 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ D. Decev, Die thrakischen Sprachreste, Wien: R.M. Rohrer, 1957, pp. 144, 151
  4. ^ Ralston. The Songs of the Russian People. p. 28
  5. ^ Dworski, Lamus. "Slavic Deities from Poland (part2): Goddess Lela" Lamus Dworski Blog
  6. ^ Miladinovci (1962). Зборник (PDF). Skopje: Kočo Racin. p. 462. 
  7. ^ Veličkovska, Rodna (2009). Музичките дијалекти во македонското традиционално народно пеење : обредно пеење [Musical dialects in the Macedonian traditional folk singing : ritual singing] (in Macedonian). Skopje: Institute of folklore "Marko Cepenkov". p. 45. 

External links[edit]