Saturday, May 30, 2015

"Matura": High School Graduation

          This past weekend I was able to be a part of not one but two "maturas".  A matura is the celebration a parent has when their child graduates from high school.  It's a big deal here and is rewarded with a big celebration.  So before I show you all of the pictures and videos allow me to set the scene.  
           Here in Macedonia, and as far as I know the Balkans, most celebrations are slavas.  A slava has a large, long dinner table with the food already placed on it.   You say hello to the hosts, give them your gift sit down and they take your drink order. It's very similar to how we do things.  However, after you sit you don't get back up for a long, long time. You toast one another many times, you talk and you eat. At a slava you don't dance but since I was at a matura we danced until the floor was smoking from the hot dance moves. It was a lot of fun.

The woman standing is Ane and her son. 

Let the toast's begin!

Oh yeah there was a band.

Ane was very excited her son finally graduated!

I love the stone work with the wooden ship.

Before we even started eating we were already singing and dancing.

The woman in red is the school's director.

Quite the spread, hu.

Oro time.

Julia can oro with the best of them.

All the staff.

Milena, Beti, Ane and Bilana, the four pillars of my Lakocerej school.


One of many posed pictures.

Who knew a white button up came in so many different shades?
          Click here to watch everyone sing and then dance in the middle of the restaurant. 

More dancing. 

Dancing on tables.

I left "early" at midnight but the party continued for hours.

          By midnight I was completely exhausted. On my bike ride home I thought about why I was so mentally and physically drained. I enjoyed chatting with my coworkers, had a double espresso to keep me wired and ate very slowly but I couldn't figure it out. As I was gliding along the road, soaking in the view of the Moon rising over the mountains. I felt calmed by it's familiarity and that's when it hit me.
          Where was the speech, the thank you's for coming, the proud parents beaming at the head of the table and showing off their kid?  The pattern I'm accumsted to, a speech given by the host, the dinner courses being swapped out never happened. It was one long unbroken sequence of events.
          It was then that I realized that the celebration, slavas too, is about the event itself, not the person the event is in honor of.  That's why instead of speeches, the hosts paid for all of the food and drinks.  That's why they were taking orders, helping serve drinks and making sure you only needed to enjoy their hospitality. 
          So the following night, Sunday, I went to another matura for a different coworker and had a very good time.  Since I finally understood the rhythm of the event I was able to enjoy it and I went home energized not exhausted.

This is Risto and he only speaks Russian to me.

That's Nomche, he's got the sharpest wit of any Macedonian I've met. 

Beti the bartender.

We were in Beti's house so there wasn't a band but that's what YouTube videos are for. 

Храна, храна, храна. (Food, food, food).

Beth's family, her daughter was the one who graduated. 

Following this picture more dancing, singing and dancing happened, it never gets old.
          Lastly, we all had Monday off work as well but it was in celebration of the two priests that invented Cyrillic. More on that in my next post. 

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