Monday, August 11, 2008

Macedonian Wedding Encounter

Yesterday, we were fortunate to come a across a happy event just blocks from our home. We were returning from the grocery store around 4pm, and turned into our neighborhood only to find the street completely full of people. A beautifully dressed couple had apparently just been married, and there was a lovely procession taking place in the street complete with flowers, banners, and plenty of well-wishers. A videographer was capturing the event. I caught a glimpse of the bride and was somewhat surprised (and a bit disappointed) to see her dress was a traditional Western style gown, much like my own. I had hoped for a colorful traditional costume, but she looked gorgeous anyway. A few weeks ago, while en route to Kosovo, I witnessed a similar wedding party, with the groom on horseback, outfitted in colorful traditional garb, presumably on his way to meet his bride. Traditionally, the groom is first shaved by his Kym and kyma (godparents), then he proceeds on horseback to the bride's home. What we saw yesterday was obviously a more modern celebration.

It was very exciting to see and it peaked my curiosity about Macedonian weddings. There are numerous videos available on YouTube if you are interested in checking it out. Each year in Galicnik, the town holds a traditional wedding ceremony for the tourists and there are many recordings of it available. Travel agencies here in Skopje actually offer "Weekend Wedding" tours! I find weddings fascinating and love to see how different cultures celebrate. In Doha, we were lucky enough to be invited to a big, authentic Indian wedding reception. It was amazing, with so much color and music. What I remember most though, was the fact that the bride looked so sad. I found out later that Indian brides are not supposed to smile. Insert quote from Bend It Like Beckham I hope to see a real Macedonian wedding too, not just be a bystander as I drive by.

I found an interesting article on the web about how Macedonian wedding traditions are changing, and though I feel it is probably a bit exaggerated, it makes a good point. The article is titled My Big, Fat Macedonian Wedding,, and it discusses how many Macedonians are favoring large, lavish Western style events, even if they can't afford them. Just last week, we saw a large limo near Chris' office, and Christopher wondered how anyone could afford to hire it. I reminded him that as long as people get married, there will always be business for limo drivers. We all seem to spend, spend, spend when it comes to weddings, no matter who we are! The article also touches on arranged marriages, which are no longer common here in Macedonia, but used to be prevalent. The point is that while Macedonians may not have wealth, they still want to enjoy life and celebrate what they do have! I also found the comments on the page interesting--just ignore the Greek troll. I'll save the FYROM name debate for another day!


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