The Spring Celebration ‘Hidrellez’ takes place annually on 6 May, which is recognized as Spring Day, or the awakening of nature. ‘Hidrellez’ is a compound noun derived from ‘Hidir’ and ‘Ilyas’, which are believed to be the protectors of earth and water and the helpers of individuals, families and communities in need of them. To mark this occasion, various ceremonies and rituals connected with nature are performed, guaranteeing the wellbeing, fertility and prosperity of the family and community and protecting livestock and crops for the upcoming year. The element belongs to all participants: families, children, youth, adults, dancers and singers. The rituals have deep-rooted cultural meanings and provide the community with a sense of belonging and cultural identity and an opportunity to strengthen relations. The communities concerned ensure the viability of the element by participating in the Spring Celebration on an annual basis. The complex organization of related events at the local, regional and national levels ensures the wide participation of individuals, groups and communities. The element is recognized as a key part of the cultural identity of the local communities and related knowledge and skills are transmitted within the family and between community members through oral communication, observation, participation and performances.
Cultural Practices Associated to the 1st of March comprise traditions transmitted since ancient times to celebrate the beginning of spring. The main practice consists of making, offering and wearing a red and white thread, which is then untied when the first blossom tree, swallow or stork is seen. A few other local practices also form part of a larger spring celebration, such as purification actions in Moldova. The artefact is considered to provide symbolic protection against perils such as capricious weather, with the practice ensuring a safe passage from winter to spring for individuals, groups and communities. All members of the communities concerned participate, irrespective of their age, and the practice contributes to social cohesion, intergenerational exchange and interaction with nature, fostering diversity and creativity. Informal education is the most frequent means of transmission: in rural areas, young girls are taught how to make the thread by older women, while in urban areas apprentices learn from teachers, craftspeople and through informal education. Another occasion for transmission is provided by Martenitsa/Martinka/Mărţişor workshops organized by ethnographic museums. The communities concerned are actively involved in efforts to inventory, research, document and promote the element, and numerous cultural projects geared at its safeguarding are underway.
Male two-part singing in Dolni Polog is a traditional form of vocal music, known locally as Glasoechko, which is characteristic to the region. Songs are sung in a polyphonic manner with the drone voice moving contrapuntally in relation to the melodic leading voice, often accompanied by a shepherd’s flute and a bagpipe. Glasoechko is performed spontaneously in groups of two or three, at celebrations, assemblies, weddings, dinner parties and other social gatherings. Performance of this musical heritage constitutes a symbol of cultural identity for the bearers, integrated within a multi-ethnic society. Practitioners of this tradition are prominent and talented individual singers who have acquired their knowledge by imitating the techniques and skills of their predecessors. Male two-part singing in Dolni Polog faces a number of very serious threats to its viability, however. The number of individuals and groups practising and transmitting it is diminishing rapidly due in part to persistent outward migration of its bearers following the civil war conflict in 2001. Younger generations have extremely limited exposure to Glasoechko performances and older generations consider there is insufficient interest to warrant continued transmission. There are no recordings of Glasoechko songs and in its present state the tradition seems to verge on extinction.
Kopachkata is a dynamic and energetic social dance performed by local residents of the village of Dramche in the region of Pijanec. It is danced at weddings, public gatherings and religious holidays by the village’s best male dancers. The dance is performed in a semicircle accompanied by drummers, a fiddle, and sometimes a tamboura lute or bagpipes. The key roles are the dance leader, who initiates the dance, the last dancer, and the middle dancer who acts as the fulcrum, balancing the left and right sides of the semicircle. During the dance, the dancers hold each other’s belts with crossed hands, to ensure stability as their movements quicken. The dance starts with a slow walking movement, then changes to swift and short steps, followed by quicker steps and foot stamping. Younger, newer participants learn by taking the last place in the semicircle, and moving closer to the front as their competence progresses. For local audiences, the Kopachkata dance is a symbol of cultural identity, not only of the community of the village of Dramche, but for the wider Pijanec region.
Republic of North Macedonia
Date of Inscription:
Inscribed in 2014 (9.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity