Macedonian Culture

Naming

Ethnic Macedonians

  • Macedonians traditionally have a personal name followed by their family name as the surname, but no middle name (e.g. Aleksandar Tošev).
  • Family names often have different suffixes for males and females. The masculine endings are ‘-evsk’, ‘-ski’, ‘-ev’ and ‘-ov’. The female endings are ‘-evska’, ‘-ska’, ‘-eva’ and ‘-ova'. For example: The masculine and feminine form of a family name may be Tošev vs. Toševa.
  • Women usually take their husband’s family name at marriage with the feminine ending.
  • Macedonian personal names are sometimes based on the names of saints. In this case, they may celebrate the day that honours their saint as if it’s as important as their birthday. These are called Name Days (Imenden).


Ethnic Albanians

  • Albanians traditionally have a personal name followed by their family name as the surname, but no middle name (e.g. Adil COBAJ).
  • Common Albanian names are Adil, Agim, Thoma and Arjan for boys, and Ada, Dlia and Justina for girls.
  • Albanian family names commonly end in ‘–aj’. E.g. Cobaj, Dreshaj or Sylaj.
  • Some Albanian family names may originate from a tribe or name. However, this is not common in North Macedonia.


Family names can also be derived from Christian or Islamic roots without the person necessarily being religious. The name can also indicate the region or town where a person’s ancestors were from.

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