North Macedonia is one of the countries rich in history and diversity. It has very unique customs and traditions. The Christmas season in North Macedonia is a time for joy, spending time with family and friends. The time is characterized by lights and decorations that fill the country.

Many people in North Macedonia give major attention to the Christmas celebrations, which usually begin on Christmas Eve. A large number of people here usually celebrate Christmas Christmas on 7th January.

Christmas traditions and customs in North Macedonia

Christmas in Macedonia is a time of bonding.

A large population in the country is mainly Orthodox. This means that they celebrate the Christmas period using the Julian calendar. This calendar is usually two weeks late than the Gregorian calendar, so the Christmas comes in early January.

Christmas in North Macedonia is all about community and it begins early in the morning at service at the church. The communion service is usually given to the people. During this period if people were feuding then they will reconcile after the service and invite each other to their homes over the Christmas period. 

The main theme of this period is tolerance and forgiveness. In rural north Macedonia girls usually tie the trees to prevent them from catching diseases. This custom is usually accompanied by smiling faces and songs.

Christmas in North Macedonia is characterized by symbolism. Christmas straws, twigs, and Christmas cake are more common here. Early in the morning before Christmas Eve, the children will often move from house to house as they sing Christmas carols and recite poems. It is one of the best times of the year and these kids are usually given presents in terms of apples, chestnuts, oranges, walnuts, and other treats. The singing is usually an announcement that Jesus is born and you are going to find people in full joy and celebration around the country.


Perhaps this is one of the most unique times of the year as the people in North Macedonia usually light candles, preparing for the Christmas celebrations. On Christmas Eve the families and friends gather and have dinner. The dinner is usually made up of lean meat and is rich in nature. 

It is a common Macedonian belief that if you are hungry in the evening then there is a high chance that you might be hungry throughout the year. The North Macedonian homes are far more advanced and you will find that the traditional dishes are tasty and the recipes have been passed from one generation to another.

The rich foods usually involve lean foods such as fish, potatoes, pie, and fruits, and fast foods such as dolma and salma. Usually, these dishes are eaten at the dinner table with four candles lit. The candles are usually lit from the 6th of December. A candle is lit each Sunday until the Christmas day. 

Christmas cake in North Macedonia

Perhaps one of the most common traditions and dishes in North Macedonia is the Christmas cake. The Christmas dinner is never complete without the cake.

It is usually baked early in the morning. Macedonians usually place a gold or silver coin inside it. It is believed that whoever gets the coin will have the best experience in the coming year and they will have a financial boom. The host of the party – the eldest person in the house, is usually given the role of breaking the bread and the wealth, luck, and health will follow whoever gets the cake after eating. 

In some parts of North Macedonia, you will find that the coin has been replaced with chickpea mainly for sanitary purposes.

Christmas dinner in North Macedonia

Christmas dinner in North Macedonia is different from other parts of the world because it is customary to leave the table of all foods throughout the night. This is an important aspect because the people believe that they are leaving the food to angels who will bring good luck to the house.

The food is also for the departed members of the family and in some places, it is for the spirits of the dead to come and celebrate with the family. When guests enter the room, they are usually invited with presents and there are dances, singing, and smiling. 

The giving of gifts is important because it is symbolic as that of the three wise men who came to visit Jesus on his birth. It is believed that it will bring a year of happiness and prosperity.

Christmas is all about family in North Macedonia

Perhaps one of the most fundamental aspects when it comes to Christmas in North Macedonia is that the people value this period because it is a time to meet with distant relatives and friends. Christmas is usually considered a family time here.

North Macedonia is a country of traditional values and a majority of the people in the region have embraced the old-fashioned traditions and customs. They describe Christmas as a time of serenity, joy, and love. According to the locals, there is safety that family brings. 

It is a common concept that you will find families bonding together as they celebrate the Christmas period. No matter where the Macedonians are they will always be welcomed home. The Christmas traditions in the country are usually passed from one generation to another. It is an iconic time when people can enjoy time with colleagues or family members.


This is a common tradition around North Macedonia and the region. The villages in northern Greece and Northern Macedonia usually celebrate Christmas by preparing for Christmas Eve. During Christmas Eve the eldest person in the family or the landlord of each house will go to the forest where they will find the largest piece of olive or pine wood.

This wood is called Christ’s wood. During Christmas Eve the people in the country usually clean the house thoroughly as they wait for Christmas. The fireplace is cleaned and once the Christ’s wood is in place it is taken to the fireplace and lit. It is believed that the cleaning is thorough because people are getting ready to get rid of everything that burdened them over the past year and getting ready for the new year. 

The night before Christmas the people will gather around the fireplace as the Christ’s wood is lit. According to the traditions, people believe that the wood should light for three days because it is meant to keep the baby Jesus warm. In some parts of the country, the fire is kept alive for twelve days!

The Momogeri

This is a unique tradition, especially in the villages and Momogeri. It is associated with an old man and this man has mimetic movements. The people during this period wear skins from goats, wolves, and other kinds of skins. 

Some people believe that in Northern Macedonia, the Momogeri will appear throughout the Christmas period and this means that he will be present from Christmas until the Day of Epiphany. You will find people or groups of young adults moving from one house to another during this period, singing Christmas carols and reciting poems.

Commonly, two companies will go from one end to another and when they meet, they will make a fake war and they will fight until one team declares submission.

Christmas Eve in North Macedonia

It is imperative to understand that the people of North Macedonia usually celebrate their Orthodox Christmas on January 7th. On January 6th they will usually prepare by putting up decorations and setting up a Christmas tree in their homes.

Just like the Catholic Christmas, they will often decorate the Christmas tree and put up lights and other decorations. The tree will usually have a star at the top and it is a symbol of the star that the three wise men followed as they went to see baby Jesus. 


January 5th is commonly called Kolede in Northern Macedonia and it is often associated with the children moving from door to door singing Christmas songs. It is more like the Halloween trick-or-treating in the United States.

However, the children in North Macedonia are often known to be rewarded with nuts, fruits, sweets, and even coins. The children usually look forward to accumulating money that they can use to purchase their Christmas presents.

Christmas bone fire 

During Christmas Eve it is important to note that there is a huge bonfire usually lit, when large groups of people gather around the fire where they can begin their celebrations by chatting and catching up about the events of the previous year. 

The time is perfect for socializing and you can find people from close and distant relatives that bond during this period.

January 7th in North Macedonia

The people of North Macedonia celebrate their Christmas on January 7th and this is for the Orthodox Christians. During this day they will wake up and go to church before they can enjoy their dishes. The service is usually short and thereafter they will go bond with their family members.

Christmas buffet

January 7th marks the Orthodox Christmas in North Macedonia. The people usually gather at the dinner table and everyone must be at the table before they can begin eating.

In a majority of places around the country, there is a Christmas bread that is baked and they will put a coin inside, and whoever finds the coin while eating will have the best year full of health and wealth.

It is important to note that the person who gets the coin will be the host of the bonfire as well.

The traditional dishes that are more common during this period include dried fruits, assorted nuts, baked trout, garlic bread, kidney beans soup salads, sarma, and pickled vegetables.

Now that you know more about the Christmas period in North Macedonia, here are some additional resources about the country:

Aurimas Bio

Hi there! I’m Aurimas, a man behind Go Look Explore. I’m passionate about hiking, exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, and everything outdoors related. Let’s connect.