Macedonian Culture

Religion

Most Macedonians identify with the Macedonian Christianity. The second largest and fastest growing religion is Islam. There are some other small groups of Jews, Catholic, Protestant and Baptist Christians and Hindus. Traditional beliefs and folk practices also continue to be followed in some parts of Macedonia, particularly in rural areas. For example, there is still a widespread belief in the evil eye.

 

Macedonians generally follow the religion traditional to their family. It is very rare for a person to change religions or denounce their faith. However, while most people identify with a religion, not as many Macedonians strictly practise their faith. Religion has a stronger influence with older Macedonians than with the younger generation. A trend shows that Christian affiliation is slightly declining whilst the proportion of Muslims is increasing slightly.1

 

Religious affiliation is often associated with one’s . Most Macedonians are Christians whilst Albanians, Turks and Romas (Gypsies) are generally Muslim. culture is generally more dominant in the public sphere of main cities where Macedonians are more numerous, and most national holidays follow the Christian calendar. 

 

Macedonian Eastern Orthodox Church

The Church was introduced to North Macedonia during the Roman era and further spread during the Byzantine period. After many years of political difficulty, the Macedonian expansion of was formally recognised in 1967 and the Macedonian Church (MOC) was established. The first parish of MOC to be established outside of North Macedonia was in Melbourne by the migrant Macedonian community.

 

There are a few visible customs that may be followed by Macedonians. Many people may wear a cross around their neck. It is a rite of passage among most Macedonians to be baptised and christened at birth. People also mark life events with marriage and funerals. Christians may also fast in the lead-up to Easter – abstaining from meat, oil and dairy products. 

 

Islam in Macedonia

Islam was introduced to North Macedonia during the Ottoman period of rule. The majority of Muslims in North Macedonia are Albanians. Macedonian Muslims traditionally follow the Sunni variation of Islam and the Hanafi school of thought; however, there is also a small Sufi minority. North Macedonia has a history of practising quite a modern form of Islam, influenced by the Turkish Ottoman practice of the religion. Not all Islamic customs are followed; for example, many Macedonian Muslims drink alcohol. 

 

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1 Pew Research Centre, 2016

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