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Culture & Identity of Macedonia

Introduction

Macedonia is a mountainous country that seems to be a bit of an isolated state in many ways. The culture and way of life is partially based on the mountainous landscape and the rural culture. In the changing world, particularly with growing infrastructure and communication the way of life in Macedonia is changing, but still clings to the historic ties.

The historic way of life is based on village life as family and community were incredibly important and the center of life. In many ways, this life was also heavily reliant on farming and agriculture as many people worked in these areas. However, today the economic state is changing and so is the daily way of life. People are moving to cities in greater numbers and getting jobs in industrial and services sectors, giving them more regular jobs with hours from about 8:00 am to about 8:00 pm, but many times with a long lunch break. However, many more people seeking jobs can't find them as nearly a third of the population seeking work is currently unemployed.

Although people are moving to the cities to get jobs, many fail in this quest and for those who do succeed, many use the money earned to help support their families, often time family members in the rural parts of the country where the individuals are from.

No matter the setting, the people's way of life revolves around their families and ties to local communities never seem to disappear.

Identity

The Macedonians identify as Macedonian, which is essentially a politically-defined term. The Macedonians delicately stand between Bulgaria and Greece, clinging to the name Macedonian with pressures from both sides. The Bulgarians generally scoff at Macedonian identity and proclaim that the term Macedonian cannot be an ethnically-based identity, since Macedonian is not a "distinct ethnicity"; the Bulgarians view themselves and the Macedonians to be the same people ethnically, but care little if the Macedonians call themselves such. Despite arguments from the Bulgarians, the Macedonian ethnicity is a contributing factor in the Macedonian identity, although only on a secondary level. Like the Bulgarians, the Greeks refuse to give the Macedonian identity much recognition, since the ancient Macedonians were most likely closer, ethnically, to the modern day Greeks than the modern day Macedonians. In this way, the Greeks see this name "Macedonia" as belonging to them and their history, not to the people of modern day Macedonia. Despite the arguments and confusion, Macedonians generally still identify as Macedonian and for these people this term is primarily a political identity, but the people's ethnicity, language, and culture and also associated with the term to varying degrees.

This page was last updated: November, 2013