The Macedonian Cultural Background

The rich culture of Macedonia is evidenced in its colorful costumes and memorable music, which are considered as the best in the Balkans. The culture of the Macedonian people is characterized with both traditionalist and modernist attributes. Traces of the antiquity of Macedonia are still 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 bound with their native land and the surrounding in which they live.

Food in Daily Life. Breakfast is eaten around nine a.m. by workers in offices, but earlier by factory workers, and in the field in the country. Dinner is the main meal and is eaten at around two p.m. Supper is eaten later after the afternoon siesta. Hot food often is allowed to cool to room temperature. Breakfast can consist of bread and cheese, sometimes with eggs. Other meals can begin with meze (appetizers) served with rakia (fruit brandy). Bean casserole (tavche-gravche) is the national dish, and bread is considered the most basic food. In restaurants, pizza is especially popular. There are no food taboos other than those associated with religion, but folk beliefs about food abound.

Marriage: Traditionally, marriages were arranged by the parents, but today young people are likely to choose their own partners. Pregnancy often leads to marriage among urban youth, but in the traditional culture the bride is expected to be a virgin. Traditional marriages usually do not cross religious lines. Polygyny occasionally occurs among Muslims. Marriage is the norm, and adults who have never been married are rare. Divorce and remarriage are regulated by civil law.

Etiquette: In the traditional culture, the young show deference to the old. It is normal for male friends to shake hands and for women to kiss when meeting and saying good-bye. A person entering a room where others are seated will shake hands with each person. Physical contact among friends of the same gender is considered normal. Although staring at strangers was once common, it became relatively rare in the 1990s. It once was the norm to remove one’s shoes at the entrance of a home, but this practice is receding among urban Christians.

Religious Beliefs. The major religions are Orthodox Christianity and Islam, with small groups of Roman Catholics, Protestants, and atheists. Most Jews were deported and killed by the Nazis, but a few still live in Macedonia. Belief in the evil eye is widespread, and religious practices in rural areas often reflect folk beliefs.

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.