Feast of Rousa

Rousa, Feast of

Between April 29 and June 2; the 25th day after Easter
In parts of Greece, the Feast of Mid-Pentecost, which occurs on the 25th day after Easter, is called the Feast of Rousa (or Rosa). On this day, a special ceremony is performed to ward off scarlatina, or scarlet fever. The children bake rolls out of flour, butter, honey, sesame oil, and other ingredients which they have collected from their neighbors. Along with other foods, these are eaten at a children's banquet, which is followed by singing and dancing. Central to the ceremony, however, is the baking of special ring-shaped cakes, which can only be made by a girl whose name is unique in the neighborhood and which must be baked in a specially built oven.
After the banquet is over, these ring-shaped cakes are divided among the children and hung up to dry. If any of the children who participated in the feast come down with scarlet fever or any similar disease, a piece of the cake is pounded and sprinkled over their skin, which has already been smeared with molten sugar, honey, or sesame oil. This is believed to be an infallible cure.
While the name of this feast is widely believed to come from the crimson rash that accompanies scarlet fever, it may also be a remnant of the old Roman festival known as Rosalia, or Feast of the Roses.
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 252
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.