July 31, 2012

0293 MACEDONIA (Polog) - Galičnik Wedding Festival

Located on the slopes of the Bistra Mountain, in the western part of Macedonia, Galičnik is one of the two biggest and oldest Mijak villages in the region. Mijaks are known for their ecclesiastical architecture, woodworking, icon painting, and also for the extent to which old customs are preserved in their every day life. They speak the Galičnik dialect, which is distinguished by the archaic words, and was used in many historically important literary works for the Macedonian literature. Some historians suggested that they were originally Aromanians (Vlachs) speakers, assimilated later into the South-Slavic Macedonian society, but this theory needs more research.

The most important tradition of Mijaks, preserved until today, is Galičnik Wedding Festival (Galička Svadba), which begins each year on 12 July, on Saint Peter feast day (Petrovden), and lasts 5 days.  It's the only period of the year when, traditionally,  couples can get married. In nowadays, a couple is chosen to receive the wedding and be shown on national television. During the wedding, men dance teškoto oro (literally "the hard one"), a shepherd folk dance of the Mijaks, one of the national dances of the Republic of Macedonia, symbolizing the suffering of the Macedonian people through the centuries. The traditional customs reenacted by the Galičnik Wedding include the mother-in-law’s hora, the decorating of the flag, escorting of the flag from the broom’s house, shaving of the broom, baking of the bread, invitation of the dead and many others.

The traditional wedding costume of the bride consists of 46 parts and weighs around 25 kilos. Behold some excerpts from the description made by the Serbian geographer Jovan Cvijić (former president of the Serbian Royal Academy of Sciences, and former rector of the University of Belgrade) in his book entitled La Péninsule balkanique, géographie humaine, published at Paris in 1918:

"The costume of Mijaks, especially female costume, is most characteristic. The most curious piece of male costume, whose use is widespread in some parts of Macedonia, is the cépare or the cépe, a kind of coarse jacket of black cloth which covers mainly the shoulders and back and has some analogy with the cape. In some villages it is called zobonče. The cap of Mijaci, which resembles that of the Montenegrins, is called ćulavče. The rest of the clothes is such a so-door throughout Mecedonia, but here everything is in black coarse cloth. […]

If at the male is black rule, at women and children costumes and embroideries are red, a crimson red color which is specific for Mijaks. No suit the Balkan peninsula is also seeing that this tribe. On a beautiful summer day, when everyone is outside, one is struck by all that red which contrasts with the gray soil, stone houses and slate roofs. A Galicnik most is a curious sight to see small children, who are healthy, fully dressed in red pants (čakśire), jacket (zobonče) and dolman (dolama).

All parts of the female's costume have the same dark crimson color. The embroidery of shirts in particular are characteristic: the sleeves, from the shoulder, are elegantly embroidered with geometric designs; also around the neck and on the chest of the shirt."

As usual, Ana chose the most appropriate stamps for this postcard, i.e. two of the four which form the series Folk Costumes, issued on March 1, 2001:
• Folk Costume of Dolni Polog (6MKD)
• Albanian Folk Costumes of Skopje (12MKD) - it's on the postcard
• Folk Costume of Rijeka (18MKD) - it's on the postcard
• Folk Costume of Skopska Crna Gora (30MKD)

This is a post for Postcard Perfect #54. Click on the button below to visit all the other participants.

Galičnik – Wikipedia
Galičnik Wedding – Exploring Macedonia
The story about Galičnik wedding – unet.com.mk
La Péninsule balkanique, géographie humaine, by Jovan Cvijić – Gallica, bibliotheque numerique

sender: Ana Racić (direct swap)
sent from Skopje (Macedonia), on 28.06.2012
photo: Nace Popov

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