Exploring the Culture of North Macedonia

North Macedonia is a country at the crossroads of cultural fusion – as one of the oldest inhabited regions of Europe, it boasts rich traditions and historical significance between ancient Mediterranean and Balkan civilizations. Combined with the ubiquitous presence of modernity, this country blends many influences both past and present into a fascinating multicultural experience. As one of the most mountainous countries in the world, North Macedonia contains sweeping landscapes and a diverse range of forest vegetation, supporting a variety of wildlife and insect species. Farming is a strong economic focus, and this history of a traditional agricultural lifestyle has molded the Macedonian people to possess many trade skills, as well adaptability and determination when it comes to problem-solving.

Macedonians are considered generous, kind, easy-going people and often spend a lot of time with their families. Unlike some cultures within the US, Macedonians do not value ‘personal space’ and are not afraid to show their emotions; they’ll outwardly display their affection to loved ones and speak their mind when they have an opinion. However, Macedonian youth are also taught the importance of respecting those around them. Due to their complicated history and relatively recent status as an independent nation, Macedonians take great pride in their national unity, as well as their regional identities. Known to be innovative and open-minded, many people in North Macedonia welcome new ideas and development, valuing both their country’s unique history and their commitment to a better future.

Host a North Macedonian student in the U.S.

People and Community

Narrow street in the old town of Ohrid on a beautiful sunset, North Macedonia

It is common for Macedonian families to include parents, their children, and sometimes grandparents. Usually, both parents work and have the same monetary responsibilities for the family. The authority figure in “more modern families” could be either parent or both, but there are families where the father remains the lead authority and his opinion is the most respected. Most activities are pursued together as a family. Some individual time is considered fine, but when a family member spends too much time alone (staying in their room, for example), it can lead the family to think that something is wrong. 

Macedonian teenagers are expected by their parents to do well in school and get good grades. Typical Macedonian parents would expect their child to be responsible and behave properly and respectfully towards others. It is uncommon for children to do chores or have tasks that help out around the house. It is also uncommon for Macedonian families to have a housekeeper or hired help. Usually, the mother does most of the domestic labor like laundry, cooking, etc. Female teenagers sometimes help, and are probably able to prepare meals by themselves, unlike male teenagers, who are generally not taught to cook. A lot of Macedonian families do own pets, although usually these pets (cats and dogs) stay outside. Some families do keep pets indoors, though this is less common. 

Language and Communication Styles

Skopje / Macedonia - July 06 2019: International parade in the streets of Skopje, Macedonia with traditional costume folk dress ready to dance in the festival. Group of folklore people

The official language of North Macedonia is Macedonian, with roughly two thirds of the population speaking it as their first native language, and most others speaking it as a second language. Albanian is considered a co-official national language and is the second most spoken language in North Macedonia. 


Tasty macedonian food

The Macedonian diet is often very simple and consists of small, locally sourced produce and ingredients for common dishes that include meat, vegetables, bread, and pastries. The cuisine draws influence from both northern Greece and the Balkans, combining the simplicity of Mediterranean cooking with the spices of their Ottoman roots. Because of its relatively warm climate, locals can enjoy a diverse selection of high-quality vegetables, herbs, dairy products, and spices. In Macedonia, meals may be eaten all together as a family or separately, depending on family members’ schedules. Other than food allergies or medical conditions, dietary restrictions are not very common. Some Macedonian families follow the Muslim religion’s prohibition of not eating pork.