Culture of Macedonia
The rich culture of Macedonia is evidenced in its well-preserved customs, epic poetry, legends, colorful costumes, wonderful folklore and memorable music, which are considered the best in the Balkans. The culture of the Macedonian people is characterized in both traditionalist and modernist attributes. Traces of the antiquity of Macedonia are still clearly visible today in archaeological sites of Stobi in Veles, Scupi in Skopje, Stibera in Prilep, Heraclea in Bitola, the antique theater in Ohrid…. Culture of Macedonians is strongly bond with their native land and the surrounding in which they live. The rich cultural heritage of the Macedonians is accented in the folklore, the picturesque traditional folk costumes, decorations and ornaments in city and village homes, the architecture, the monasteries and churches, iconostasis, wood-carving and so on. The culture of Macedonians can roughly be explained as a Balkanic, closely related to that of Serbs and Bulgarians.
It is said and still is strongly widely believed that inhabitants of the southern parts had always loved the sun. It was known that sun warms all people and provide life, so in time those areas were recognized as the countries of sun…. On 8th October 1331 Dusan Nemanjic was crowned and set on the Serbian throne. The Serbian state reached its pinnacle in every sense during his reign. Social life was rich, and its dynamics was most expressed in the center of the Dusan’s Empire – in Kosovo and Metohija and Macedonia. Prizren, Skopje and Ser were towns most frequently visited by the emperor Dusan, who actually ruled from Skopje. Numerous monasteries, churches, and fortress bear witness on the magnificence of Emperor Dusan’s reign… and their frescoes depict numerous Serbian rulers and nobility.
There are many cultural traits of people of Macedonia, of which one is celebration of the Orthodox Christmas. The Macedonian Orthodox Christmas celebration begins the evening of January 5th, which is known as “Kolede”. Children go from door to door singing Christmas carols, heralding the birth of Jesus, and receiving fruits, nuts and candy from the people. Later in the evening, the elderly people from the neighborhood gather around a bonfire outside, and engage in a conversation about the past year and the year to come.
Rich culture of Macedonian people is vivid in well preserved customs, among which is the Orthodox Christmas Eve, when a traditional oak log (badnik) is brought to the home. This log is cut by the father of the household and his older son, while the table is being set for the Christmas Eve supper (Posna Vechera). The dinner cannot have anything derived from animals, and it cannot be cooked using cooking oil or other types of fat. The traditional dinner usually consists of baked fish. The dinner is the last day of a traditional 40-day Orthodox Lent, which is done in a way to honor the Virgin Mary for carrying baby Jesus. The oak log is cut into three pieces, representing the Holy Trinity, and each piece is brought into the house by the father. A member of the family receives a piece and places it on the fire. As this is done, the son and the father exchange a greeting: “Good evening and happy Christmas Eve” (Dobra Vecher i Vesel Badnik). While the log is being placed on the fire, the mother and the grandmother gather the children together into the room where the dinner is to be served. Each person carries a bundle of straw from outside, and together with the mother they spread the straw on the floor. The spreading of the straw on the house floor is meant to make the atmosphere more like that when the night Jesus was born. The house is decorated further with oak and pine branches, representing the wish of the family for long and healthy life, “with health strong as oak, and with a life long as that of the oak.” Macedonia Travel
Macedonian National Museum & Icon Gallery Skopje
National Museum of Macedonia in Skopje is divided into three departments: Archeological, Historical, and Ethnological (the same ticket covers them all). It is highly advised to visit the Ethnological section of the National Museum of Macedonia, since it is a very good one. The Ethnological section exposes about 70 original national costumes from different parts of Macedonia, all decorated with highly stylized and wonderful patterns. Look for the Wedding dress from Mavrovo, which is 40 kg in weight, and the wig that the bride had to wear for a month after the wedding as a symbol of her virginity. Also different customs are explained, and there is also a good presentation of traditional architecture through models and photographs. The archaeological section of the National Museum of Macedonia in Skopje has a rich collection of objects from the neolithic times 5000 years B.C. up to the 7th century A.D. Unfortunately many artifacts have been taken to Belgrade or Sofia through the years and they have never been returned. The highlights are the Tetovo Menada figurine (from the 6th century BC) and the prehistoric figurines of the Great Mother. Unique are the 6th century terracotta icons from Vinica (icons like this have been found only in Tunisia and Macedonia). The historic department is not as interesting, but also presented here are copies of the best frescoes from all around Macedonia (which is good if one is interested in Byzantine art but does not have time to travel around). The gallery of icons is also here, it comprises icons from the 10th to the 19th century, and even some of them are the best ones from Macedonia (including the Bogorodica Pelagonitisa), but the Ohrid Icon collection is still much nicer and more valuable.
The movie was directed by Milcho Manchevski and shot in London and in remote Macedonian region of Mariovo, among the rocky plateaus and stone houses of two beautiful if mostly deserted villages Štavica and Zovik. The “Before the Rain” movie was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Golden Lion in Venice and features music by Anastasia – a blend combining Byzantine past, Orthodox Church music and a rich gamut of ethnic Macedonian rhythms….
The circularity of violence seen in a story that circles on itself. In Macedonia, during war in Bosnia, Macedonians (Christians) hunt an ethnic Albanian (Muslim) girl who may have murdered one of their own. A young monk (Kiril) who’s taken a vow of silence offers her protection. In London, a photographic editor who’s pregnant needs to talk it out with her estranged husband and chooses a toney restaurant. She wants permanence with her lover, a prize-winning Macedonian photographer just back from Bosnia, changed by the violence he saw and felt there. He leaves abruptly for his village; he’s not visited it in 16 years. There he tries to ignore bitter divisions between his Macedonian Orthodox brethren and local Albanian Muslims, then tries to transcend them.
The Macedonian music is extremely singable and always awake emotions of every person who listens it…. Macedonian Music that follows traditional dances is very strong and so amazing that make you fall in love in every song…. Macedonian dances are very dynamic and provide its listener and auditorium to feel and learn events of past, performed to present the most beautiful gems of Macedonia’s folk treasury. Macedonian traditional dances have important place in the folklore and the music traditions of Macedonia. Macedonian folklore best describes the strongly positive and highly sensitive soul of people of Macedonia. The folklore dances of Macedonia include those dances connected with life cycles and could be defined as the warrior, wedding, harvest, love dances and others….