Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle (Holiday)

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The Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Struggle is a national holiday which is celebrated on October 23rd in Macedonia. In 2007 the holiday was voted into law as a new national holiday. It is a non-working day.

Historical Background[edit]

The holiday is celebrated on the occasion of the formation of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization in Thessaloniki. On October 23, 1893 six young men gathered at the home of the bookstore owner Ivan Hadži Nikolov in Thessaloniki in order to form the basis which would later become the symbol and flag for the struggle for Macedonian freedom. The founders were:

They formed a covert group, calling it the Macedonian Revolotionary Organization

The organization fought for the freedom of Macedonia without foreign help. The formation of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization was the beginning of an organized Macedonian revolutionary movement which, via the Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising the Kruševo Republic and, later, World War II in Yugoslav Macedonia, resulted in the creation of the modern independent Macedonian state. This date, October 23, is connected with the organized struggle of the peoples living in Macedonia to create an independent state.


Because this day is considered the beginning of IMRO, the Macedonian public was somewhat reserved in declaring this day a national holiday. The Macedonian opposition at the time, led by Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, were wholly against the declaration because the opposition considered it the birthday of the right-wing party VMRO-DPMNE. As such, it was considered inappropriate to celebrate it as a national holiday. Some Macedonian public figures espoused the view, this celebration is related to the ideas of the Bulgarian nationalism.[1]

In Bulgaria are also some objections against this way of celebration. It appears that IMRO have originally been called "Bulgarian Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Committees".[2] IMRO was active not only in Macedonia but also in Thrace and initially the membership in the organization was restricted only for Bulgarians.[3] Contrary to the impression of Macedonian researchers who believe that the Internal organization espoused "Macedonian national consciousness," the local revolutionaries during Ottoman times declared their belief, that the majority of the Slavic Christian population of Macedonia was "Bulgarian."[4] The modern Macedonian historiographic claim of close relationship between the IMRO demands for autonomy with the creation of a separate ethnic Macedonian state, does not correspond with historical records.[5][6] In this relation, the Bulgarian side has made several proposals that some shared historical events (e.g. the foundation of IMRO) could be celebrated jointly.


In many different parts of Macedonia the holiday is celebrated with various festivities, concerts, and sports competitions. The official festival is held in the Macedonian Opera and Ballet, where major national figures and historians from the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts give speeches.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Празник во служба на големобугарската идеја, Група првоборци и преродбеници, Утрински весник, Број 2228 среда, 08 ноември 2006.
  2. ^ Who are the Macedonians? Hugh Poulton, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2000, ISBN 1-85065-534-0, p. 53.
  3. ^ Its first name was "Bulgarian Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Committees", which was later changed several times. IMRO was active not only in Macedonia but also in Thrace (the Vilayet of Adrianople). Since its early name emphasized the Bulgarian nature of the organization by linking the inhabitants of Thrace and Macedonia to Bulgaria, these facts are still difficult to be explained from the Macedonian historiography. They suggest that IMRO revolutionaries in the Ottoman period did not differentiate between ‘Macedonians’ and ‘Bulgarians’. Moreover, as their own writings attest, they often saw themselves and their compatriots as ‘Bulgarians’. All of them wrote in standard Bulgarian language. For more see: Brunnbauer, Ulf (2004) Historiography, Myths and the Nation in the Republic of Macedonia. In: Brunnbauer, Ulf, (ed.) (Re)Writing History. Historiography in Southeast Europe after Socialism. Studies on South East Europe, vol. 4. LIT, Münster, pp. 165-200 ISBN 382587365X.382587365X.
  4. ^ Tschavdar Marinov, We the Macedonians, The Paths of Macedonian Supra-Nationalism (1878–1912), in "We, the People: Politics of National Peculiarity in Southeastern Europe" with Mishkova Diana as ed., Central European University Press, 2009, ISBN 9639776289, pp. 107-137.
  5. ^ Contrary to the assertions of Skopje's historiography, Macedonian revolutionaries clearly manifested Bulgarian national identity. Their Macedonian autonomism and “separatism” represented a strictly supranational project, not national. Entangled Histories of the Balkans:, Roumen Daskalov, Tchavdar Marinov, BRILL, 2013, ISBN 900425076X, p. 303.
  6. ^ There is, moreover, the not less complicated issue of what autonomy meant to the people who espoused it in their writings. According to Hristo Tatarchev, their demand for autonomy was motivated not by an attachment to Macedonian national identity but out of concern that an explicit agenda of unification with Bulgaria would provoke other small Balkan nations and the Great Powers to action. Macedonian autonomy, in other words, can be seen as a tactical diversion, or as “Plan B” of Bulgarian unification. İpek Yosmaoğlu, Blood Ties: Religion, Violence and the Politics of Nationhood in Ottoman Macedonia, 1878–1908, Cornell University Press, 2013, ISBN 0801469791, pp. 15-16.