Macedonian Orthodox Customs

Serendipity Photography Macedonian Customs

The spectacular customs of the traditional Macedonian Orthodox wedding include far more than just the ceremony. Macedonian Orthodox couples celebrate their special day with a vast array of customs unique to their cultural heritage. These wonderful festivities range from dancing to shaving, and involve some fantastic music, traditional dress and a number of great locations. The morning of festivities at a Macedonian Orthodox wedding is one of Serendipity’s favourite parts of the day and we think these customs make for vibrant and beautiful photographs.

Serendipity Photography Macedonian Orthodox Customs

Shaving!

The shaving of the groom is a fantastic celebratory custom that takes place on the morning of the wedding. The Macedonian Orthodox shaving ceremony is great fun as well as being truly unique. Unlike the shaving ceremonies of other cultures, the Macedonian Orthodox one is approached with great humour and theatricality. The groom sits outside with a white towel on his lap. His face is covered in shaving cream and his family and friends dance around him, whilst also offering money, which they place in the towel. The shaving ceremony attracts weird and wonderful props, with guests pretending to shave the groom with anything from hedge clippers to an axe!

 

Serendipity Photography Macedonian Orthodox Customs

Dancing!

Once the shaving is complete the entire family dance, arms across one another’s shoulders, in a large circle. A band plays traditional Macedonian music and money is placed on the various instruments; inside the saxophone and between the folds of the piano accordion. The dance is most often led by the Koumbaro (the couple’s male religious sponsor) and the groom, with the rest of the family stretching out in a long spinning chain. During the dance the groom and best man, and sometimes other groom’s men, will stand atop the drum, dancing on it as the music plays. This is a mark of honour for the groom and anyone else lucky enough to dance upon the drum.

Serendipity Photography Macedonian Customs

Baking the Bread!

Across at the bride’s house more fun and festivities take place. A young girl is chosen to bake a round loaf of bread. The bread is reminiscent of a wedding band, symbolising a thing with no beginning or end. This bread is an integral part of the day and is present at the house, then the ceremony, and finally the reception where it is broken. At the bride’s house her relatives are given a meal to start the big day of celebration. After the meal the guests gather in one of the front rooms of the house. The bride kneels on the floor and her guests pass the bread around her whilst offering her gifts. There is more dancing at this point and the women swirl long strings of beads around in celebration. The bride and her guests then move onto the ceremony for more celebration! That night, at the reception the loaf of bread will sometimes reappear. Traditionally the guests will gather on the dance floor where the Godfather will dance, holding the bread and passing it over the heads of the newlyweds. The bread is then passed over the heads of guests who are dancing in a large circle. Next the couple hold the bread between them, and on count they break it together, both aiming to break off the larger half. This is a fun way of deciding who in the couple will be the head of the household! The bread is then broken up and served alongside the wedding cake.

 At Serendipity Photography we are very lucky to be able to be a part of such wonderful and diverse cultural customs and traditions. We invite you to browse more Macedonian Orthodox wedding ceremony traditions at Serendipity’s blog page!

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