North Macedonia, which is the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, celebrates Day of the Macedonian Revolution on 23 October. This holiday commemorates the founding of IMRO, a Macedonian independence group, back in 1893.
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IMRO was established in the southern Macedonian town of Thessaloniki, which is now part of Greece. It fought for the freedom of all of Macedonia, both north and south, from rule by the Ottoman Empire. The organisation was actually composed mostly of Bulgarians and originally sought greater autonomy within the Ottoman Empire. But ultimately, it became a revolutionary entity that led a failed uprising in 1903 and strove for Macedonian independence during World War II.
Actual autonomy for Macedonia ultimately came with the breakup of Yugoslavia. Since the southern half of Macedonia lies in Greece, however, the country is now referred to as North Macedonia at Greece’s request.
There are many patriotic speeches, special ceremonies honouring Macedonia’s heroes of the past, and festive events held throughout North Macedonia every 23 October. It is a time when people in this small, recently independent nation reflect on their long, storied history and continuing culture.