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‘Vergjinesh’ Portrait


Pashque Agraja was born in 1939 and declared herself a ‘Vergjinesh’ in 1963. The ‘Vergjinesh’ are women who voluntarily take an oath of life long virginity thereby renouncing marriage. After a trial period approved by the village elders they then lead the life of a man; dressing as one, doing men’s work and even having the right to sit on the village council. The origins of this tradition are probably due to the large number of premature male deaths caused by blood feud killings, many families lost all their male members to feuding yet needed to be represented in the community, this role could not be played by a woman. Theth village.