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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Galichnik Wedding: July 15, 2012

The main event began last night at 7:00 pm with the decorating (tying a cross and flowers to it) of the flag and firing of a rifle three times.

Next, musicians were welcomed with rakija and candies by the bridegroom's family, and they began to play their drums and zurlas (a wind instrument). Accompanied by the musicians, the bridegroom's mother danced with a sieve on her head that is filled with bread and decorated with flowers.

A group of beautifully costumed women danced the lovely, graceful Nevestinskoto dance with the lead woman languidly waving a red handkerchief "made of tears" bidding her beloved to stay.  Then the men take the spotlight with the Teshkoto (hard) dance.  This dance begins slowly but the pace increases with the drummers' beat.  Each movement for both dances has a symbolic meaning and at once is both sad and joyful.

As darkness fell, an entourage of members of the bridegroom's family lit torches and walked to the bride's family house.  Once there, they escorted the bride back to fill her water jug from three different springs.  The water symbolizes the fluid life the bride hopes to have, and it is also the last time that the bride will fetch water for her father's home.

Farther back in the procession and behind the torch bearers is the bride.  She is the middle woman with a dark head scarf in the front row of the above photo.  She is carrying two water jugs that she will fill from three different springs.

That was the end of the wedding festivities for the first day.  The entertainment continued with a concert by Kalevala singing Macedonian folk songs.  Leaving the commotion and light of the square behind, we saw fireflies along the road and even the Milky Way was visible above us.  The clear, lovely voice of the singer followed us all the way back to the Hotel Neda. The drum and zurla musicians moved on to the restaurant and performed until 3:30 a.m.

The wedding celebration resumed early this morning (about 8:00 a.m.) with a visit by the bridegroom and his relatives to the cemetery. At the cemetery, the bridegroom apologized for getting married without the presence of his ancestors. He invited his dead relatives to the wedding, and he left gifts and lit candles at the grave. The bridegroom is the tall man in the center front in the below images.

The second procession of the day headed by the bridegroom with the musicians bringing up the rear was to invite the godfather to the wedding. Then, there is the tradition of "shaving the bridegroom." This act symbolizes the groom's passage from boy to man and his separation from his mother.

Once shaved, the bridegroom changes from his dark pants into his white wedding trousers.  Everything he is wearing is made of a thick wool: pants, belt, shirt, jacket, and hat.

Around 10:00 a.m. a procession of the bridegroom's family led by the flag bearer proceeds to the bride's house bringing gifts for the bride.

At the bride's home several more customs are acted out.  Once finished with the formalities there, the bride was dressed in her wedding costume which consisted of 47 pieces of clothing and jewelry.  She is also wearing a large silver belt which was believed to protect the woman's womb.  The entire costume weighs in at 25 kilos (55 pounds).  She was covered with a white veil and placed on the groom's white horse to be escorted by her future in laws to the church.  The flag bearer again led this procession.  He was followed by a horse carrying the bride's dowry.  The two chests that make up the bride's dowry were covered by a sheep skin that has been dyed red.

As this procession winds through Galichnik it stops periodically so the bride can bow her head to the neighbors.

Once back at the church square, the bride and her bridegroom enter the church to have the marriage ceremony. While the actual marriage is taking place, the folk dancers entertained the crowd with both the Nevestinskoto and Teshkoto dances.

Once married, the couple are presented to the crowd and participate in the bride's dance.

The bride is the woman wearing a mostly gold dress with her white veil pulled back from her face. It was difficult to photograph her because she was quickly mobbed by photographers.

Afterward, I rejoined Olivera back at the Hotel Neda.  She told me that Aleksander had seated her in the VIP viewing stand.  The President of Macedonia did not stay at the Hotel Neda, but he eventually showed up for the celebration on the last day of the wedding.  When he arrived, he shook hands and greeted Olivera.  While Olivera was mingling with important Macedonians and four foreign ambassadors, I was following the many processions through Galichnik.

Back at the hotel we ate the traditional Galichnik meal of roasted lamb with Aleksander and Metodija while we waited for traffic to clear out of Galichnik.