BRIDES AND GROOMS WEDDING IN FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA

The grooms wedding starts on Thursday, according to the reports we have. This day was chosen because it is the symbol of something lasting, something quadripartite and also it gives people enough time to prepare for the main event in the week. On this day young girls go into the grooms house wearing the newest, the most beautiful and the most vivid clothes they have. The mat made of cattail is brought there also, which is a symbolic way to show that the newlyweds should continue the family strain, especially with boys.

On the mat a young, healthy, strong boy is rolled. From this day until Saturday afternoon preparations are made for the church wedding, and then a special "round bread" is made, called "sfaka". For this event all the young girls, friends of the groom, sing a song to announce its making. The most important thing of this event is that the chosen girl, the girl that makes the "round bread", should not be an orphan or a child of divorced parents, because it is believed that something like that could happen to the newlyweds in their marriage.

The baking of the "round bread" is done in a new stove which is put in the middle of the room, as a symbol of the coming and beginning of a new life in the house. When the "round bread" is baked, preparations are made for the shaving of the groom which is done by the brother-in-law, the godfather, and one of the witnesses at the wedding. While he is shaved, the girls bring a new towel for him, and after that he is dressed in the proper clothes, then the ceremony of taking off the grooms shoes is done.
Through a competition, two of the brother-in-laws take off the grooms shoes and throw them over the main rafter of the house or the room. This ceremony is a symbol that shows that the groom should be the one that runs the house. After dinner the wreath for the bride is made. It is full of sweets (in order that the bride should be sweet) and popcorn (so the ground on which she works on pops up like the popcorn). After it is made, a little girl tries it on, and goes in the living room where she kisses the hand of the elderly people who give her money or small gifts. Then the shoes of the bride and the groom are put together in a sifter, and a little boy moves them around the room and gets presents in the same way as the little girl. The last ceremony, held in the grooms house, is when a little boy stands at the doorway, inside of the house, and a little girl stands outside of the house, both holding and then breaking a round bread in which there is a coin.

If the coin is in the girls half than the bride will be happy and vice versa. On Saturday the wedding at the brides house begins. The same songs that were sang at the grooms wedding are sang at the brides wedding too, but in this case they are about her not him. Here also a "round bread" is made but a sweet basil is put also, so that the brides life in the new house is more gracious and sweet. The happiest moment of the wedding is when the witnesses go to house of the bride, while the women stay at the home making thin layers of dough which are sweetened with sugar. Over them a round bread is put right in the middle together with a glass of wine and salt, which is a symbol of giving birth and brotherhood. When the witnesses from the grooms house are near the brides house, witnesses come out to greet them, and during that ceremony a lot of jokes are told from both sides. After this they go into the dining room, where the bride is hidden and through a sifter watches them with great excitement, especially when she is brought in front of her father-in-law. Then she gives gifts to the witnesses and after that the father-in-law gives her the ring.

After dinner all witnesses go out in the yard where they dance, while two of the brothers-in-law go to the brides room to give her the shoes. Strong and young girls stop their entering into the brides room, asking for money. When a bid sum of money is paid, they enter and give the shoes to the bride, but she refuses them three times claiming that they don't fit, and on the third time they give her money and she accepts them. With this the bride gives in, and it is time that she prepares for the wedding. She goes out in the yard where the father-in-law throws sweets, candies and money on her three times, and they continue to go into the church. In the meantime, the mother-in-law goes into the church with a small table on her head. When all the relatives are in, the priest removes the veil off the brides head and the ceremony begins. After the ceremony everybody goes to the grooms house. The scarf of the mother-in-law is burned in the yard and the father-in-law goes around the car with bread and wine in his hands on which the newlyweds put their hands.

Also, an apple is thrown over bride's head, when she gets in the yard. After that she gives socks full of sweets and candies to a small boy and other gifts to the father and mother-in-law and puts honey crosses on the four sides of the door. With bread in her hands she enters the room with her right leg. When she enters the room the feast begins and a lot of jokes are made about the gifts of the bride. The bride and the groom go into a separate room. But the feast continues until dawn. On Monday a fire is lit and around the fire everybody sings and dances while the newlyweds are served with sweet brandy as a symbol that the bride was a virgin. With this the end of the wedding comes and a new family is made that will continue the family string and the work in the family will grow together with the new members.

This is an old Macedonian tradition which is not used any more, but maybe only some segments of it are done in order to continue the tradition.

Ilioska Angela, 17 years
Stojanovska Aleksandra, 17 years

St. TRIPHUN'S DAY

St. Triphun's day is on 14th February -- Drunkards day. St. Triphun was a man who never drank, but he was protector of grapes.

At this day water is baptized in the middle of the church and after the ceremony people take it home with them.

One branch of the grapevine is cut and the priest tells a prayer. After that people go home and celebrate making pancakes and drinking wine and sweet brandy. It is believed that all the wine and brandy should be drank, because after this day fasting begins (eating no fat food).

 

KRKRDASH -- 22nd March

This is the first day of spring. People are gathered in church of 40 SAINTS (Krkrdash in turkish means 40 brothers). Usually the church is placed on a hill. People go around a tree where snakes come out from. Every person makes a wish and puts a branch with a mark on the ground. If the snake touches ones branch, the wish will come true. Young men are trying to catch the snake and the one who does gets luck for the rest of his life.

 

FORGIVENESS DAY

This day is six weeks before Easter. One week before forgiveness day carnivals are held. At night men wear scary masks made of sheep's leather, horns on their heads and carry bells and drums to scare off the bad ghosts.

On forgiveness day young people ask for forgiveness from the elderly, so they can start with their fasting.

Ilioska Angela, 17 years
Stojanovska Aleksandra, 17 years


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