Are you planning to visit North Macedonia in 2024?
If so, you might want to know about the holidays and observances that take place throughout the year. According to the Law on Holidays, the non-working days for 2024 have been announced.
These days are designated to celebrate cultural, religious, and historical events that are important for the people of North Macedonia. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most popular and interesting holidays and observances in North Macedonia in 2024.
New Year’s Day (January 1)
New Year’s Day is a universal celebration that marks the beginning of a new year. In North Macedonia, people celebrate this day with fireworks, parties, and family gatherings. Some traditional foods that are eaten on this day include banitsa, a pastry filled with cheese or meat, and boza, a fermented drink made from wheat or millet.
Christmas (January 7 and 8)
Christmas is one of the most important holidays for the Orthodox Christian community in North Macedonia. It is celebrated on January 7, according to the Julian calendar, and January 8 is also a non-working day.
On Christmas Eve, people gather around a bonfire and sing carols. They also break a special bread called pogača, which contains a hidden coin that brings luck to the person who finds it.
On Christmas Day, people attend church services and exchange gifts. Some of the traditional dishes that are served on this day include sarma, stuffed cabbage leaves, and baklava, a sweet pastry with nuts and honey.
Ramadan Eid (April 10)
Ramadan Eid, also known as Eid al-Fitr, is a Muslim holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting.
In North Macedonia, Muslims make up about one-third of the population, and they observe this holiday with prayers, charity, and feasting. Some of the typical foods that are eaten on this day include burek, a savory pastry with cheese or meat, and halva, a sweet confection made from sesame seeds or nuts.
Labor Day (May 1)
Labor Day is a holiday that honors workers and their contributions to society. In North Macedonia, this day is also known as May Day, and it is celebrated with rallies, marches, and picnics. Some of the symbols of this day include red carnations, which represent solidarity and social justice, and lilies of the valley, which signify spring and renewal.
Easter (May 6)
Easter is another major holiday for the Orthodox Christian community in North Macedonia. It is celebrated on May 6, according to the Julian calendar, and it is the culmination of the Lenten season.
On Easter Eve, people decorate eggs with red dye, which symbolizes the blood of Christ, and crack them with each other, saying “Christ is risen”.
On Easter Day, people attend church services and enjoy a festive meal. Some of the common foods that are eaten on this day include lamb, cheese, and kozunak, a sweet bread with raisins and nuts.
“Ss. Cyril and Methodius” – Day of All-Slavic Educators (May 24)
This holiday commemorates the contributions of Saints Cyril and Methodius, who were the creators of the Glagolitic alphabet, the first Slavic script.
They are considered the patrons of education and culture in North Macedonia, as well as other Slavic countries. On this day, people pay tribute to their teachers and mentors, and celebrate the richness and diversity of the Slavic languages and literature.
Republic Day (August 2)
Republic Day is a national holiday that marks the establishment of the Republic of North Macedonia in 1991, following a referendum that declared its independence from Yugoslavia.
This day is also known as Ilinden, which refers to the Ilinden Uprising of 1903, a revolt against the Ottoman Empire that sought to create a Macedonian state. On this day, people attend official ceremonies, cultural events, and patriotic demonstrations.
They also display the national flag and sing the national anthem.
Independence Day (September 8 and 9)
Independence Day is another national holiday that celebrates the sovereignty and statehood of North Macedonia. It commemorates the date when the country was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1993, after a long dispute with Greece over its name and identity.
On this day, people enjoy parades, concerts, and fireworks. September 9 is also a non-working day, extending the celebration.
Day of Macedonian Uprising (October 11)
This holiday honors the historical Macedonian Uprising of 1941, which was a resistance movement against the fascist occupation of North Macedonia during World War II. The uprising was led by the Communist Party of Macedonia, and it resulted in the liberation of several towns and villages.
On this day, people pay respect to the fallen heroes and martyrs of the uprising, and visit monuments and museums that showcase the history of the struggle.
Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle (October 23)
This holiday recognizes the contributions of the Macedonian revolutionaries who fought for the national liberation and unification of the Macedonian people in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The date marks the anniversary of the formation of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) in 1893, which was the main force behind the Macedonian national movement.
On this day, people celebrate the legacy and achievements of the IMRO, and learn about the history and culture of the Macedonian nation.
St. Clement of Ohrid (December 8 and 9)
This holiday celebrates the life and work of St. Clement of Ohrid, who was one of the most prominent disciples of Saints Cyril and Methodius. He is regarded as the founder of the Ohrid Literary School, which was the first Slavic cultural and educational center. He is also credited with the creation of the Cyrillic alphabet, which is still used by many Slavic languages today.
On this day, people honor the memory and teachings of St. Clement, and visit the churches and monasteries that he built or restored. December 9 is also a non-working day, extending the celebration.
Other Holidays and Observances
In addition to the general non-working days, there are also several holidays and observances that are specific to certain religious or ethnic communities in North Macedonia.
- Albanian Alphabet Day (November 22), which celebrates the Albanian alphabet and language.
- Saint Sava (January 27), which recognizes the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the patron of education and culture in Serbia.
- International Roma Day (April 8), which is a day dedicated to celebrating Romani culture and raising awareness of the issues facing the Romani people.
- Vlach’s National Day (May 23), which honors the Vlach community and their national day.
- Yom Kippur (October 12), which is the first day of Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, observed by the Jewish community.
- International Bosniaks Day (September 28), which commemorates the cultural heritage and identity of the Bosniak community.
- Turkish Language Teaching Day (December 21), which focuses on the promotion and preservation of the Turkish language and culture.
As you can see, North Macedonia is a country that offers a diverse and fascinating range of holidays and observances throughout the year.
Whether you join in the joyous festivities of Independence Day or witness the solemn observances of Yom Kippur, each holiday offers a unique glimpse into the history, culture, and traditions of the people of North Macedonia.
We wish you a wonderful and memorable trip to North Macedonia in 2024. 😊