Independence Day in Macedonia is celebrated on the 8th of September each year. If that date falls on a weekend, it is celebrated on a different day which is proclaimed by the Macedonian government. The date celebrates the 1991 Referendum for Independence.
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Although Macedonia has only been an independent state since 1991, it has a long and storied history, dating as far back as Ancient Greece. One of its best-known leaders was Alexander the Great, whose success in Granicus, Issus and Guagameia put an end to the Persian Empire.
Over the years, Macedonia has been controlled by the Roman and Ottoman Empire. The country began fighting for independence as far back as 1876 and the country celebrated a brief period of independence before World War I.
Macedonia was divided in the early 1900s with sections of the country held by Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia. Conflicts throughout the years changed leadership in the different areas of the country. By 1989, a majority of the country was held by Yugoslavia.
When the leadership of Yugoslavia began to deteriorate in the early 1990s, a push for independence for Macedonia began. On 8 September 1991, 95 percent of eligible voters approved independence for the Republic of Macedonia.
Celebration and Traditions
Independence Day is one of the most significant holiday in Macedonia. The people of Macedonia take to the streets displaying their patriotism throughout the country. There are free music concerts, festivals and parades designed to celebrate the country’s hard fought independence. Many areas offer special-theme dance performances and plays. Festivals can be found throughout the country in almost every city or town.
The main celebration for Independence Day takes place in Skopje’s Pella Square. It is here that people gather to hear the Prime Minister speak and view military marches along with air shows. There are also stunning fireworks displays. A special water show is presented in Pella Square as well in honour of the holiday. Offices, schools and businesses are closed throughout the country.