Galichnik Wedding Customs
The celebration of love and life with the act of marriage is a universal cultural phenomenon. It transgresses boundaries and binds humanity together. Yet, in its distinctiveness it is a cultural hallmark of every nation. Macedonian wedding customs deeply rooted in age-old tradition are living proofs of the exceptionally abundant Macedonian culture. They are not a mere formality but a divinely inspired act by the fullness of the heart. What is fascinating and captivating of Macedonian marriage rites is their uniqueness inspired by the singular social and economic circumstances prevalent in our turbulent history.
One of the most distinctive wedding customs is expressed through the annual Galichnik wedding ceremony. It is the one and only ceremony, which has preserved the folk traditions in its entirety. The customs preceding the actual marriage ceremony and feast are unique and performed only in this wedding ceremony. I will attempt to describe some of the rituals occurring before the actual wedding ceremony. The wedding ceremony traditionally takes places on St. Peter’s Day.
A day before the grand ceremony the bridegroom and his friends welcome the musicians, in particular the drummers. The drummers in turn with a special folk song sound abroad their coming. Young people gather to welcome and take them to the bridegroom’s home. In the bridegroom’s house, the bridegroom’s mother with a sieve on her head and a goblet of wine in her hand welcomes the musicians and the marriage brokers. She starts a dance. In the sieve specially kneaded bread has been placed - a blessing for the young bride – she is to be faithful and spend her whole life in her husband’s home. The focus now turns to the bride’s home. The ritual following initiates the bride into maturity. The suite of marriage brokers carrying torches and singing songs go from the bridegroom’s house to the bride’s house to take the bride to the village fountains to...