Major Festivals In Macedonia – North Macedonia

Ohrid Summer Festival is one of the largest and important festival in Macedonia – North Macedonia.  Ohrid Summer Festival is held each year from July 12 to August 20 in the town’s ancient outdoor theatre or in the 9th century Church of Sofia with about 40 musical events and 12 plays. The festival features plays, dance and music concerts from both professional and amateur performers, as well as operas and many other exciting events.  This Festival has a great reputation and the average number of visitors per season is about 20.000. Soon as the festival program is released the visitors can plan in advance the events.

The Ohrid Summer Festival can be said that is a really fortunate festival to have the city of Ohrid and the contrary- the city is blessed to have this festival and it was probably destined to be so. In the Republic of Macedonia – North Macedonia certainly the awareness of the meaning of this superb cultural manifestation always exists, because of what the festival has the absolute support of all the institution of the state. Especially the support of the government of RM through the Ministry of Culture, the President of the Republic who at the same time is the Patron of the Festival, as well as the important support of the economy through firms and companies that financially assist the festival.

Today, Ohrid Summer Festival presents a great dignity and an exceptional cultural gain for Ohrid and the Republic of Macedonia – North Macedonia; a manifestation with which Ohrid and Macedonia – North Macedonia can be represented with dignity in the world

“The Balkan Festival of folk songs and dances” is an international folklore event established in 1962. This international folklore event is celebrating the country’s rich cultural and social history in four of its prettiest seaside towns. Approximately 42,000 people are estimated to participate in this festival every year, exploring stories passed down from generation to generation through the medium of dance, song, rites and poetry.

In July, on St. Peter’s Day one lucky couple has a traditional Macedonian wedding celebrations at Galicnik, a legendary old village in the western mountains near Mavrovo. The festival became popular during the 1950s when people who had gone abroad to work or moved into the cities came back to the village to get married in the traditional style.

The three-day feast, with dance, eating and drinking, traditional customs, costumes, and rituals and dances that have been passed down over the centuries.

Some of the highlights of the ritual include the public shaving of the groom, the bride arriving at the groom’s house on horseback, and everyone parading through the village dressed in traditional wear.

The Galicnik Wedding is an event that every Macedonian or visitor to Macedonia must experience at least once.

Set in the beautiful city of Bitola, an area of some fascinating ancient architecture, the Manaki Brothers Festival takes place every September.

The International Cinematographers Film Festival “Manaki Brothers” in Bitola is organized by the Macedonian Film Professionals Association (MFPA).

It honours Yanaki and Milton Manaki, the Balkans’ first film-makers, who began using the medium in 1905.

The first film the Manaki brothers made was The Weavers, a one-minute documentary of their grandmother spinning and weaving wool – this is thought to be the first film shot in the Balkans.

From year to year, MFPA offers significant contribution to Macedonian cinema and affirms world film art here in our country. One of the main activities of MFPA is the International Cinematographers Film Festival “Manaki Brothers”.

The Skopje Jazz Festival is a jazz festival traditionally held at the end of October in Skopje since 1982 and become a landmark of the capital.

Even though it promoted a genre which at first glance looks distant from the local culture and tradition, it managed to attract a very large audience and to build a reputation as a prestigious festival not only in the Republic of Macedonia – North Macedonia, but in a wider sense in the Balkans and in Europe.

Throughout its history the festival has hosted prominent names from the jazz world such as: Antony Braxton, Ray Charles, Cubanismo, D.D.Jackson, Sierra Maestra, Marshal Allen, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Gotan Project, Maria Joao, Toni Kitanovski, Al di Meola, Youssou N’Dour, Brazilian Girls, and many more.

“Stipska pastramalija” is a branded product, which understands protected quality, recipe and name of the very famous meat pie from the Stip and this festival is dedicated to this meat pie- pastrmajlija. Pastrmajlijada Festival it is enriched with artistic and cultural entertainment program that includes presentation of pop and folk-ethno compositions.

Krushevo Etno City Festival is held in the middle of the summer form 15th  July to 15th August where natives of Krusevo dressed in authentic clothes of Ottoman Turks and Macedonian revolutionary fighters, representing their fight for freedom, paraded around Krusevo, in commemoration of the anniversary of the Ilinden uprising that took place on August 2, 1903.

The participants parade across the town carrying out their everyday obligations, animate the tourists, which fully comply with the strategy for local economic development of Krusevo, especially the tourism. There are also presented hand-craft workshops, art exhibitions, concerts (both modern and traditional music). This is a must-see event if you visit Macedonia – North Macedonia during July or August.

Taksirat is a festival for alternative music lovers. This music event lasts several days and attracts an audience of approximately 15,000 visitors. This festival is held at the end of November beginning of December and is biggest in Macedonia – North Macedonia and it is only winter music festival in South Eastern Europe. A lot of eminent domestic and foreign artists have performed here: Manu Chao, Kaiser Chiefs, Parov Stelar, Juliete Lewis, Guano Apes, Laibach, The Stranglers, Wailers, Kreator, Iggy Pop & the Stooges, Neville Staple (the Specials Buzzcocks, Marki Ramon from The Ramones and many others. This is the only festival in Macedonia – North Macedonia that has won the prize Green’N’ Clean (2011) presented by the European festival Association YOUROPE.

Punk, metal, rock, hip-hop, reggae or indie music. The festival madness lasts all night long.

The Strumica Carnival is a centuries-old tradition and is directly connected to the religious festival Trimeri.  The three days which are called the “trimer days” always begin on the Sunday night at Procka (Forgiveness Sunday) and last until the following Wednesday. On Tuesday night, the Carnival takes place- masked groups of people stroll throughout the city, with men visiting homes of their fiancees and staying there until the early morning hours. The only manifestation of such kind in Republic of Macedonia – North Macedonia, dedicated to the engaged girls where the masked groups visit the homes of the engaged girls and the girls should recognize their fiancé.The first written account of the carnival originates from the Turkish travel writer Evlija Celebija.

Since 1994, Strumica is a member of the International Association of Carnival Cities, FECC.