By Molly Maahs, YES Abroad PY2017-2018, Macedonia
High School graduation in Macedonia is synonymous to Prom. Here it is called “matura” which signifies the coming of age for a typical student. The festivities are much more grand than a “prom” at home. I was lucky enough to join the 4th year IB class from Gimnazija Josip Broz Tito for the very special evening.
It started in the morning when everyone gets ready. The hair, nails, and makeup were professionally done.
In the evening around 10 pm, on a Tuesday in late May, the students, friends, and families gathered in front of the venue (a hotel) and danced outside to the music of the trubaci band playing various traditional songs. There was fireworks and a general extreme enthusiasm in the atmosphere. The senior students, of course, were dressed in very elegant ball gowns and tuxedos.
When we went inside to dance we also had the dinner. There were traditional appetizers, the meal, and desserts. I was too stuffed to dance to the Macedonian folk music, but everyone totally got their groove on. Many professors are also there to celebrate with their students, and some group photos were taken.
At 1 AM the dance ended and the students picked up where they left off at the club. The school actually rents it out for the seniors. Until 5 AM I lasted before I was too tired to move my feet in heels for much longer. I taxied home, but for the other students, the night went on.
When daylight approached, they took taxis to our local mountain, Vodno. They watch the sunrise before going to school for another trubaci celebration there because it was then Wednesday morning! At school they hug their teachers goodbye because they are finished with the secondary career.
I am so thankful to be welcomed into a community who celebrates besides me as one of their own. Though I already graduated, being a part of another ceremony was something I didn’t expect, but however, this time around the experience was still completely new.