Galičnik Wedding Festival

Top choice cultural in Mavrovo National Park

The small Mavrovo village of Galičnik is a placid rural outpost that bursts to life each July with a traditional wedding festival, when one or two lucky couples have their wedding here. It's a big two-day party that you can join, along with 3000 happy Macedonians. Everyone eats, drinks, and enjoys traditional folk dancing and music.

The festival became popular during the 1950s when people who had gone abroad to work or moved into the cities came back to the village to get married in the traditional style – the festival draws on customs that are hundreds of years old. The local council chooses the couple (or two) for each festival, out of many applicants.

Some of the highlights of the ritual include the public shaving of the groom, the bride arriving at the groom's house on horseback, and everyone parading through the village dressed in traditional wear. Some of the women's dresses, heavy with decorations, are more than 300 years old, so do admire the intricate, ancient embroidery. Music is constant for the two days of the party, as is plenty of eating, drinking and dancing; if you're in the country at the time, don't miss it.