Macedonia’s colorful festivals: The Best Macedonia Festivals

Macedonia, a country that is overlooked by tourists around the world, actually deserves great attention with its beautiful festivals. / The Best Macedonia Festivals

Macedonia, which is among the countries that can go visa-free from Turkey, is a Balkan country that is highly preferred by local and foreign tourists with its historical and natural beauties. It attracts the attention of visitors with its architecture, traditions, cultural heritage, touristic routes, festival diversity and celebrations bearing traces of Turkish culture. These enthusiastic festivals that take place every year continue to host thousands of spectators. We have shared these deep-rooted Macedonian Festivals for you, where artistic events and traditional celebrations from impressive music performances are passed down from generation to generation:

Vevcani Carnival

The Vevcani Carnival, known as the oldest carnival in North Macedonia with a history of 1400 years, is celebrated every year between January 10-14 (Vasilitsa in the old Julian calendar, New Year in the Gregorian calendar). Unlike all other carnivals, this carnival, where current events in the country and the world are touched on through masks, and which is the scene of very interesting images every year, is held by the Municipality of Vevcani, a member of the World Association of Carnival Cities. The carnival, which integrates the modern with the pagan traditions, ends in a magnificent way with the burning of the Aunt Vasilitsa and all the masks in the center of Vevçani.

Manaki Brothers International Filmmakers Film Festival

The Manaki Brothers Film Festival, one of the oldest film festivals in the world, is organized in the name of the Manaki Brothers, known as the first cameramen of the Balkans, who contributed greatly to the development of filmmaking and the art of photography. This exciting event, which has been in existence since 1979, takes place every year in September. Exhibitions, seminars, discussions and workshops take place within the scope of the festival, where the works of all local, international, young and old filmmakers are exhibited.

Ohrid Summer Festival

Ohrid Summer Festival is the most enjoyable and magnificent summer festival in Macedonia, inviting thousands of visitors from all over the world to participate in the festivals. It is held between July and August. The summer festival, held in a picturesque city of Ohrid, includes operas, dance performances, plays, and musical concerts by amateur and well-known artists.

Skopje Jazz Festival / The Best Macedonia Festivals

Skopje Jazz Festival, one of the most well-known and prestigious music festivals in Macedonia, has attracted the attention of jazz lovers from all over the world since 1982. Bringing together world-renowned musicians, the festival presents performances by leading names of jazz music and jazz artists of all kinds. The world’s best jazz music is exhibited at the non-profit festival where jazz lovers dance, socialize and show great interest.

Balkan Folklore Festival

The Balkan Folklore Festival is the most interesting festival where cultural and historical richness is celebrated in the Balkan geography of Macedonia, which gives importance to folk dances. It has been held annually in Ohrid since 1962. The festival, attended by approximately 42 thousand people, features traditional costumes and instruments reflecting the country’s past, colorful and entertaining activities, dance performances, songs, rituals, stories passed down from generation to generation, and poetry readings.

International Ancient Theater Festival

The International Ancient Theater Festival is held in Macedonia’s ancient city of Stobi. Since 2001, tragedy and comedy performances based on texts written by well-known ancient theater writers are staged on the Stobi antique stage every year during the summer months. Traditionally, the best play, best director and best actor awards are given in this festival, which has turned into a cultural event with the participation of theaters from other countries.

Macedonian Independence Day

Macedonian Independence Day is celebrated on September 8 in Skopje’s historic Pella Square. It is a public holiday when the country officially celebrates the moment it gained its freedom from Yugoslavia. Marking the 1991 referendum, which was significant for the Macedonian people, this festival includes parades, street marches, free music concerts, dance performances, military parades, air shows and fireworks.

Comedy Days Festival

Comedy Days Festival is an international theater and comedy event held annually in October in Kumanovo, Macedonia. In the festival where comedy plays from Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Albania are staged, plays by the most talented writers of the Balkans and performances of actors are performed. The festival, which aims to enrich the Macedonian theater scene and is supported by the Ministry of Culture, attracts great attention from the visitors.

Galichnik Wedding Festival

It is held in the village of Galiçnik, which is located on the mountain slopes of North Macedonia with the image of a postcard. It is celebrated for three days in July every year. In this centuries-old village wedding festival, known as the Galichnik Wedding, Macedonians attend the wedding ceremony accompanied by horses, wearing traditional clothes and playing local instruments. In addition, local dances and local dishes bearing traces of Balkan culture are exhibited.

Taksirat Festival

Taksirat Festival, an international music event, brings together alternative music groups and musicians. The festival, which is musically diverse, takes place in December with the participation of 15 thousand audiences. Many distinguished local and foreign artists take the stage at Taksirat, the biggest festival in Macedonia. This festival, which lasts for several days, is the only festival in Macedonia to win the Green’N’ Clean award given by the European Festival Association YOUROPE in 2011.

Ethno City Festival / The Best Macedonia Festivals

Ethno City Festival, one of the most traditional and longest-running festivals in Macedonia, takes place between 15 July and 15 August. In the festival held in Krushevo, Macedonia, locals walk in traditional Macedonian clothes. The festival, which represents Macedonia’s freedom struggle, also includes the August 2 Republic Day celebrations. Also, handicraft workshops, art exhibitions and concerts take place during the festival.

Struga Poetry Evenings

One of the most prestigious poetry events in the world, Struga Poetry Evenings is Macedonia’s oldest international poetry festival. Traditionally held in the third week of August every year, more than 5 thousand poets, supporters of literature, publishers and writers from all over the world participate in this festival.

May Opera Evenings

The opera festival, which has been taking place in Skopje since 1972, takes place in May. Attracting the attention of artists and visitors from all over the world, the festival has hosted more than 1,200 artists and 280 different performances from 21 different countries in classical music and opera over the years.

Strumica (Strumian) Carnival

The Strumica Carnival is a centuries-old tradition that has a 400-year history and continues to exist today. Carnival, which takes place in the first days of Great Lent, the Eastern Orthodox religious period, is celebrated for three days in the Macedonian city of Strumica, accompanied by mask dance and music performances, parades, and fireworks. In the carnival, which symbolizes the beginning of spring, participants from many countries take part in their extravagant outfits, different masks and costumes.

Strumica (Strumica) OPEN Festival

Strumica OPEN Festival is a unique music festival that is among the newest and biggest festivals in Macedonia. During the 9-day festival, there are daily programs that appeal to all tastes. At the festival, which takes place in August, theater and film performances, art events, folk dances, concerts, workshops and trainings in folk, pop-rock and progressive music genres meet with music lovers.

Skopje Wine Festival / The Best Macedonia Festivals

The Skopje Wine Festival, held in October, is organized to promote the years-long cultural heritage of wine tradition and production. This popular festival held in the center of Skopje includes refreshments, wine tastings and fun activities accompanied by local musicians.

Beer Festival (Pivofest)

The Beer Festival is held in Prilep, Macedonia, famous for its centuries-old beer tradition. At the beer festival with the best beers in Macedonia, visitors taste the best local and international beers, accompanied by barbecues.

Christmas Celebrations

Celebrating a different Christmas from many countries, Macedonians celebrate Christmas on January 7 according to the old calendar. They don’t exchange gifts at Christmas. Children are given chocolate, juice, sweet snacks instead of toys. They prepare and eat a traditional dinner accompanied by family members. The rest of the time they watch Christmas movies or listen to Christmas music. Macedonian people, who are very excited on New Year’s Eve, begin to decorate their Christmas trees and plan how they will spend the New Year.

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