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Wedding in Galichnik, Macedonia

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Where is Galichnik?

I will start with someone else's word this time: one of the greatest Macedonian literary authors, would say “If Macedonia is a biblical land then Galichnik is its last relic”. This a short and intensive description which is related to the traditions that still is happening here in several aspects. You have a mountain village. The village is located on the slopes of the Bistra Mountain. This is one of the biggest and oldest villages! Galichnik has a well-preserved traditional architecture, including an amphitheater in the village square. The civil architecture here is the case of exploration and admiring the academic circles of the country. The Galichnik people back in history did very often go abroad for seasonal work as masons, carpenters, and painters. This strong tradition of “pecalba” made a huge influence in the architecture of this village in a manner of being refined and rich. Workers would be absent from Galichnik for months or even years at the time. By seasonal work, they earned enough to support their families and sometimes made a fortune!

''Now you may read about the bride''

Just like the unforgettable wedding in Georgian style, the most famous traditional festivity happening here is the Galicnik wedding. It's held on the day of the village feast of the Patron Saint – Petrovden (St. Peter's day) 12th and 13th of July. The traditional routine and rituals are what makes this wedding more like a festival of traditions. During these two days, you can hear the sound of traditional instruments- Zurla (is a wind instrument) and Tapan (a large double-headed drum) playing the national dance called “Teshkoto” (the heavy dance). The clothes that are traditional from Galicnik and worn during this festival are more like art pieces than traditional clothing. They precisely made fashion that can easily compete with Gucci, D&G and so on.

The schedule for the big day (or two) includes around 30 rituals to be fulfilled. Each ritual has a different meaning and it is good to attend this event with someone that is well introduced because then you can have a “guided tour” of the Galicnik wedding. The rituals are mostly related to a bright future for the couple. For example, the bride is supposed to see the groom for the first time through a ring. This means she is picking him for a lifetime. In the rituals, there are dances, roles (godfather, brother of the groom, good friend, mother of the groom…), certain food and drinks (special bread and wine for inviting the guests). You get two days of an intensive theater of 5000 guests and a couple who's getting married.

Unfortunately, when the wedding is over, here in Galicnik only two residents are staying, as everyone else lives elsewhere.

While you're here, don’t miss the yellow cheese called Kaškaval produced in the region. You also have the local brine white cheese "Bieno Sirenje" which is a homemade specialty for this region.

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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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