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Macedonia

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Macedonian Ethnic Region

BACKGROUND

Information: A country and region.

Macedonia, officially the Republic of Macedonia, is a landlocked country, and has borders with Kosovo to the northwest, Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south, and Albania to the west.

As a historical region, however, it constitutes approximately the northwestern third of the larger geographical region of "Macedonia," which comprises the neighbouring northern province of Greece, a small portion of southwestern Bulgaria (Pirin), a small portion of southern Kosovo, and a small portion of southeastern Albania. Rather than engage in interminable arguments about names, we will use "Macedonia" to mean all three, modifying the term when necessary.

In the fall of 1915, Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in World War I and gained control over most of the territory of the present-day Republic of Macedonia. After the end of the war, the area returned to Serbian control as part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. During World War II, the Bulgaria authorities, under German pressure, were responsible for the round-up and deportation of over 7,000 Jews in Skopje and Bitola. Harsh rule by the occupying forces encouraged many Macedonians to support the Communist Partisan resistance movement.

Some claim that Macedonian folk dances demonstrate continuity from ancient times to today, due largely to an absence of foreign influence. For example, the slow dance Teškoto ("the heavy one"), dating from pre-Slavic occupation of the area and danced by men to slow music on drum and zurla, purportedly depicts shepherds leaping nimbly among the rocks while guarding their flocks from predator or thief.

Instrumentation accompanying Macedonian dance consists of a cross-blown, open-ended pipe called the kaval, the double-reed zurla depicted in pre-Turkish frescos, and the gaida, a Macedonian bagpipe with a seventh little hole with a straw, not for melody but for murmuring the ornamentation.

Language: Macedonian

Religion: Eastern Orthodox Christian


DOCUMENTS


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