The Moon Smiles

This is a poem that talks about how both life and death are a mixture of sadness and joy.

O chonut asal amen
…Teochonut korhavola
teamen dikhasa
kon vakarela
Kaj e phake erovimase
thaj e asamase
ka arakhadon

English Translation

The moon smiles
down on us
around the fire
we weep
Our crying flies up
among the moonbeams floating down
heaven smells our tears
we sense the beams
If the moon is blinded we can see
who is speaking…
With one wing of tears
and one laughter
we take off to meet him.

-Rajko Durich


Ederlezi is a popular traditional folk song of the Romani minority in the Balkans (former Yugoslavia). Goran Bregovic’s version was used for the movie, Time of the Gypsies, actually made the song famous.


The song got its name after Ederlezi (otherwise known as Đurđevdan (Ђурђевдан) in Serbian, sometimes transcribed as Djurdjevdan).

Ederlezi is the Gypsy name for the Bulgarian and Serbian Feast of Saint George. It’s celebrated on the 6th May, a holiday signaling the beginning of spring, occurring approximately 40 days after the spring equinox. This Spring festival is especially celebrated by Roma people around the former Yugoslavia (and elsewhere around the world), regardless of religious affiliation.

I love this version, it’s sung by Preslava Peicheva – finalist in Music Idol Bulgaria.

Lyrics in Romani:

Sa me amala oro khelena
Oro khelena, dive kerena

Sa o Roma daje
Sa o Roma babo babo
Sa o Roma o daje
Sa o Roma babo babo
Ederlezi, Ederlezi

Sa o Roma daje
Sa o Roma babo, e bakren chinen
A me, chorro, dural beshava
Romano dive, amaro dive
Amaro dive, Ederlezi

E devado babo, amenge bakro
Sa o Roma babo, e bakren chinen
Sa o Roma babo babo
Sa o Roma o daje
Sa o Roma babo babo

Ederlezi, Ederlezi
Sa o Roma daje

English Translation:

All my friends are dancing the oro
Dancing the oro, celebrating the day

All the Roma, mommy
All the Roma, dad, dad
All the Roma, oh mommy
All the Roma, dad, dad
Ederlezi, Ederlezi

All the Roma, mommy
All the Roma, dad, slaughter lambs
But me, poor, I am sitting apart
A Romany day, our day
Our day, Ederlezi

They give, Dad, a lamb for us
All the Roma, dad, slaughter lambs
All the Roma, dad, dad
All the Roma, oh mommy
All the Roma, dad, dad

Ederlezi, Ederlezi
All the Roma, mommy

The former Yugoslav rock band Bijelo Dugme released a cover version of this song in Serbo-Croatian using the same melody, but with very different lyrics. Under the title “Đurđevdan je a ja nisam s onom koju volim” which is featured on their album Ćiribiribela from 1988.

Bijelo Dugme’s Lyrics:

Proljeće na moje rame slijeće
Đurđevak zeleni
Đurđevak zeleni
Svima osim meni

Drugovi odoše a ja osta
Nema zvijezde danice
Nema zvijezde danice
Moje saputnice

Ej kome sada moja draga
Na đurđevak miriše
Na đurđevak miriše
Meni nikad više

Evo zore evo zore
Bogu da se pomolim
Evo zore evo zore
Ej đurđevdan je
A ja nisam s onom koju volim

Njeno ime neka se spominje
Svakog drugog dana
Svakog drugog dana
Osim đurđevdana

English Translation:

Spring is landing on my shoulder
Lily of the valley is sprouting
Lily of the valley is sprouting
For everyone, except for me

The friends are gone, but I’ve stayed
There is no Morning Star
There is no Morning Star
My fellow-traveler
Hey, to whom does my darling now

Smells of the lily of the valley
Smells of the lily of the valley
To me never again
Here comes the sunrise,

here comes the sunrise
So I can pray to God
Here comes the sunrise,
here comes the sunrise

Hey it’s St George’s day
And I am not with the one I love
Let her name be mentioned
On every other day
On every other day
Except on St George’s day.

And here is a version with Greek lyrics, titled “Tou Ai Giorgi” (“Saint George’s”, Greek: “Του Αη Γιώργη”), was also recorded by Bregović together with Greek singer Alkistis Protopsalti in 1991. The Greek lyrics are credited to Lina Nikolakopoulou.

Lyrics in Greek:

Απ’ τους ώμους να, η Άνοιξη περνά,
γύρω φτερουγίζει,
ξεχνάει εμένα.
Μέρα της χαράς ποια ζωή φοράς;
Δρόμο δρόμο παίρνεις
χωρίς εμένα.

Του ουρανού πουλιά πάρτε με αγκαλιά
το βουνό γεμίζει κεριά αναμμένα
Nα κι η Πούλια ξημερώνει το Θεό παρακαλώ
μα το φως που δυναμώνει
δε μου φέρνει
δε μου φέρνει
‘κείνον που αγαπώ.

Το όνομα του ανθός, ευωδιάς βυθός,
πείτε στα κορίτσια να μην το λένε
μέρα σαν κι αυτή στ’ Άη Γιωργιού τ’ αφτί,
που όλα τα τραγούδια για αγάπη κλαίνε.

English Translation:

Look over the shoulders, spring passes,
flutters all around,
it forgets me
Day of joy, which life do you carry?

Υou take the road
without me.
Birds of sky, take me in your embrace
the mountain fills with lit candles

There it is the morning star, it’s breaking, I beg God
but the light which becomes stronger
it doesn’t bring me
it doesn’t bring me
the man that I love.

His name (is) flower, depth of perfume
tell to the girls not to say that
On the day like this one, at Saint George’s ear
where all the songs weep for love.

Source: Wikipedia

Rhymed List of Gypsy Verbs

To dick and jin,
To bikn and kin;
To pee and hal,
And av and jal;
To kair and poggra,
Shoon and rokra;
To caur and chore,
Heta and cour,
Moar and more,
To drab and dook,
And nash on rook;
To pek and tove,
And sove and rove,
And nash on poove;
To tardra oprey,
And chiv aley;
To pes and gin,
To mang and chin,
To pootch and pukker,
Hok and dukker;
To besh and kel,
To del and lel,
And jib to tel;
Bitch, atch, and hatch,
Roddra and latch;
To gool and saul,
And sollohaul;
To pand and wustra,
Hokta and plastra,
Busna and kistur,
Maila and grista;
To an and riggur;
To pen and sikker,
Porra and simmer,
Chungra and chingra,
Pude and grommena,
Grovena, gruvena;
To dand and choom,
Chauva and rom,
Rok and gare,
Jib and mer
With camova,
And paracrova,
And mekello,
And kitsi wasror,
Sore are lavior,
For kairing chomany,
In jib of Romany.

From: Romano Lavo-Lil by George Borrow 1841

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