I thank God I was born a woman.
Although most couples want boys to perpetuate their name or for other reasons, on 6th of March 1990 I came into this world: half Romanian, half Macedonian. I might say this is the perfect combination between tradition and modernism. I don’t know if my parents wanted their first child to be a boy but I know for sure they were happy having me. Most Macedonians do whatever they want to have lots of boys without realizing that girls will be the ones bringing joy in the years to come.
I have always said out loud that I am Macedonian. I’ve spoken Macedonian language every since I was born and I will never be ashamed of it. I never spoke Romanian with my father. I couldn’t do it even if I tried to. There are a few Macedonian families in the town where I grew up. I don’t know the exact number but we are a minority. There are many kinds of aromanians: Farsehots, Muzachiars, Gramustians, Pindeans, etc… In my town area there are many Cipans. The difference between these types is of language, customs and traditions. Something like: Moldovans, Olteni and Banateni.
According to our history we appear somewhere during the Middle Ages, around 1180. Currently we live in Romania, Grece, Albania; anyway, you may google it. I will strictly talk about my opinion about my kind. As usual, there are also positive and negative sides of it. When I asked for an opinion about Macedonians, the first thing I heard was: “they stick together”. Eh… I don’t really know how united they are nowadays. Maybe they stuck together when everybody had gold hidden under ground and many sheep. They loved each other, they shared respect and love. “When communists came”, because these are the words you’ll hear from any old person belonging to this majority “they took everything we had”. The chaos started. Some of us started things from scratch and they achieved success, others remained in the same place, other evolved and of course they kept their everlasting mentality. I am not embarrassed to admit that my father ran for mayor in our wonderful city; among those who “dug” him there were some of our kind. Between us, almost everyone is related to everyone, in a way or another. Somehow we have common roots: 3rd and 4th degree cousins or maybe by alliance. It is rather interesting and pleasant to discover that you are related to someone in two ways.
Our respect for older people remained the same. At least in my family. My grandfather, on my father’s side, always sat at the head of the table; he was the one I obeyed, the one I hid in pubs and coffee shops when I was in high school. I don’t know if I was scared of him as much as I respected him. We still go by the rule of obeying. My father has always been the head of the family while my mother was the neck. She brought some Romanian traditions into our family. Generally speaking, Macedonians are very strict and live a traditional life. This is not entirely a bad thing but some families go by the rules our grandmother obeyed when they were young. Thanks God that in our family there was respect and security but not absurdity. For example, I know a 22 years old girl whose parents had been taking her periodically to the gynecologist to make sure she was still a virgin and to prevent her for having any kind of relationship to a “mucan” (Romanian) for whom she might have opened her legs.
It would be impossible for her to marry a Romanian. The worst case scenario is that she remained a spinster. I know so many situations in which a Macedonian girl was not allowed to marry a Romanian boy so they stayed “single” their whole lives or they died being caught in unhappy marriages. My parents were lucky they eventually received the permission to marry, after having so many adventures.
I can not say this is still a problem but I know for sure that “dada”(grandma) or “papu”(grandpa) had something to say in Macedonian language, so that no Romanian could understand them. A very important thing is that Macedonians know how to keep up appearances. The ladies are always happy, the men are the richest and the children, of course, are the smartest. I can not put everyone in the same pot but there is a town in Romania where Macedonians don’t look like Macedonians. They are just braggers. According to that saying “their cars are more expensive than their house”, they only have gucci, pucci, mucci bags… I have to mention that these are “fake”. Going on the sea had a very big influence on them. I was lucky that where I grew up most of the aromanians stayed decent and minded their own business. But going back to appearance. The “inveasta”(some kind of daughter in law, wife) is always looking good, wearing long dress at her wedding she dances with her smile on her face no matter her true feelings. They all struggle to born boys because nowadays, if you don’t have at least one boy you have serious issues. Especially if you are a Romanian girl in a Macedonian house.
Avarice. It is a common thing which Romanian people can’t understand. I don’t know how avaricious the Macedonians are, they only know how to raise fortunes to put things aside for a rainy day. I have never been to a Macedonian house too seeing that they didn’t have food on the table. I’ve always ate my heart out in such houses. They are very king and they want their guest to feel welcomed. No matter the season or how wealthy we are, we always have a full storage. We’ve learned to make provisions to be prepared for the days when we won’t have that much possibilities. Although some people see it in a bad light, I have never seen a Macedonian suffering from hunger. They managed to survive in a way or another. One will find envy and gossip in every place one goes but here, these things are disguised. We have a good sense due to our education even since childhood. Ok … there are black sheep in every flock, so we also have them … but I won’t go into details.
Our weddings are the best. This is my opinion and the opinion of many Romanians. We have beautiful traditions, good music and everybody dances until dawn, no matter their age. Traditions are different according to what kind of aromanian you are, but for the Cipans (us) there is hlambura. This is the Romanian flag tied on a cross like stick and people put apples on the tips of it. One dances with this on his/her head during the wedding night. Before the wedding we do the “ isusirea”(engagement), which represents the small sign and the big sign. The small sign is for first degree relatives while the big sign is a party thrown for all the relatives. People come bearing lots of gifts, they share gold and candies. Another reason to dance and to be happy is to “Se measti inveasta”, which means you give money to the bride. There many other traditions. When you go to a Macedonian wedding you empty your pockets. If you are a child you receive money everywhere: when you visit your relatives, when you recite a poem or when you take a good mark. You only have to kiss your grandpa’s forehead and he puts his hand in his pockets. Food is special. We have your main dishes which can not miss, such as “piperki”. This dish can be eaten in every season and it is wonderful with our sheep cheese.
So, I am proud of my Macedonian origins; that I grew up in a family with beautiful traditions; I learned to pay my respects to older people. I am also proud of being raised by the Macedonians, that I learned the language which I am still speaking. I told myself that someday my children will be proud of their Macedonian origins no matter the place they will live in this world.