Galiċnik is a small village in the mountains of Macedonia known worldwide for organizing collective weddings each year on St. Peter’s day. In its time of glory, there were as many as 30 weddings being organized on July 21. Nowadays there are less and less, but the ceremony is still gathering tourists from all over the world appealed by the amazing costumes and the intricate rite.
According to the tradition, the wedding ceremony begins Saturday evening, at the sunset, when the groom hangs on the right side of his house a flag decorated with flowers. Gunfire announces his departure towards the village, where he meets his best men for a celebration that includes music, wine and well, partying. The next is the mother-in-law’s dance and then a traditional dance, after which the groom and his party head towards the bride’s home carrying torches. All through the night, everybody dances and is enjoying a nice time.
Sunday morning, the groom and his family go to visit their ancestors at the cemetery and ask for their blessing. Later on, back at his home, while the groom gets ready (gets a shave and a haircut) the party sings a farewell song, which sounds very familiar to the Romanian lyrics sang to the bride while women put her veil on.
Meanwhile, the bride gets dressed in the traditional wedding gown of the Galiċnik village, wearing a beautiful red costume, with long sleeves and fringes at the end, white batik, silver and gold coins around her waist and a red and black skirt. Both the bride’s and the groom’s wedding costumes are traditional, being hand sewed with silk and gold strings and decorated with folkloric elements specific to the Macedonian region. The costumes get so heavy that the bride’s wedding gown gets to weigh almost 40 kilos.
Later that day, the groom and his party arrive at the bride’s house riding horses. Here are welcomed by the bride who looks through her wedding band and says: “Through this ring I look at you, welcome me to your heart”. The whole wedding party heads to the village fountain, where the bride fills up pots with water, while men dance the teskoto, a celebration dance of their ancestors who faced hardships working as emigrants. Sunday after-noon, at the St. Peter and Paul church, takes place the last part of the wedding ceremony. After that, the newly-weds dance the bride’s dance and go back at the groom’s house riding their horse.