Macedonian Weddings are extravagant robust celebrations full of dancing, food and family and steeped in centuries-old traditions. They are also something of an endurance test with the festivities often lasting days! Here is our list of the weird and wonderful traditions you’re bound to find at a Macedonian Wedding.
The shaving of the Groom is a celebratory custom that takes place the morning of the Wedding. In ancient times it was believed that a groom could be so nervous on his Wedding Day that he could cut himself, hence the need for a steady reliable hand. Unsurprisingly the tradition has become one of great theatricality and humour.
Nowadays friends and family of the Groom will often pretend to shave him with an array of amusing and creative implements including anything from an axe to hedge clippers to a sword. A sure fire way to cure those pre-Wedding jitters!!
Image source:serendipitymelbournewedding image.com
Image source: regionweddings.com
2. Buying of the bride
Some Macedonian Weddings might engage in a game where the Bride is ‘bought.’ Groomsmen will come to the Brides house to barter with the Brides family until an agreed upon price can be arranged. This practice is reminiscent of dowry payments and is a throwback to the day when a groom literally did buy the Bride – now of course it is just a joke.
Upon leaving for the ceremony the Bride will deliberetly kick over a glass of water to symbolise a life as smothly flowing as water.
4. Breaking the bread
Traditionally a young unmarried girl on the Bride’s side of the family bakes a round loaf of bread. The bread is round like a Wedding ring to symbolise something that has no beginning or end. At the reception the godfather of the Bride or Groom lifts the bread over the heads of the married couple as they dance under it.
Afterward both Bride and Groom attempt to break the bread in a competition designed to determine who will wear the pants in the relationship! Talk about bringing a new meaning to the term breadwinner!
5. Macedonian orthodox ceremony
A traditional Orthodox ceremony is typically to be expected at a Macedonian Wedding. These ceremonies are rich in symbolism and steeped in tradition. Perhaps one of the most famous elements of a Macedonian Orthodox ceremony is the crowning of the Bride and Groom in grand gold crowns.
They symbolise the beginning of a new kingdom and the glory and honour that God is bestowing upon them. The crowns are tethered together with a piece of ribbon to symbolise the eternal commitment the couple are making to one another.
Image via Rebecca & Michael’s glamorous Sydney Wedding
One thing that you are guaranteed to find in excess at a Macedonian Wedding, besides food, is dancing! Unlike most cultures, which usually confine dancing to the reception, or after a great many drinks have been consumed, the Macedonians need no such encouragement. Indeed a certain degree of stamina is required to keep up with all the dancing!
The festivities usually commence on the eve of the wedding if not earlier. A wedding band will come to the Bride or Grooms house. Macedonian culture is rich with folk songs and dances specific to weddings. One such example is the ‘Horo’, similar to the Jewish Hora, this involves guests linking arms and dancing together in a circle. This, as well as other songs and dances, are performed throughout the Wedding celebrations.
7. Pig dance
In a display of ancient masculinity a pig dance is often performed at a Macedonian Wedding reception. In this ceremony the male members of the Wedding party dance into the Wedding reception, wielding bottles of wine, knives and folks and of course a roasted pig! What do you mean you’ve never done this? 😉
They dance and shout in front of the godparents demanding ‘payment’ for the feast. The pig is designed as a symbol of good fortune and prosperity for the future.