“I am free to say that what happens at the festival is Macedonia, actually. Your festival is unique and one of a kind from all I ‘ve seen in my life.”

Elza Ivanichin Dunin
Folklore choreographer, California, USA

The constituting of a National Festival for folk songs and dances “Ilindenski denovi” Bitola, as an only scene in the Republic of Macedonia where the cultural heritage will be presented, valorized and documented in an appropriate way has initiated a process for the development of the folklore amateurism.
The professional approach, the basic formulations, the strategy for the development of the festival, have initiated the establishment of a number of groups and ensembles throughout Macedonia. If at the first festival only 20 groups could be selected, ten years from then in Macedonia existed around 200 folk groups and ensembles.

The municipality, regional and folklore parades had become a place where the participants had been selected while the festival had become a place for presentation, direction, upgrade, and professional evaluation.

FA “Alexander the Great” Edessa, Greece (2003)
FA “Alexander the Great” Edessa, Greece (2003)


Over the years, the program mosaic of the festival has been practiced, upgraded, perfected. The groups lead by the professionals of the festival were progressing and developing. The festival started to produce directions in scene interpretation, has developed criteria, rules, and principles to cherish the authentic values and started producing cadres who spread the programmed tendency of the festival throughout the country which lead to developing an interest to participate at the Festival.

The sole fact that in the establishment of the festival 1492 folklore groups and ensembles have taken part, with over 40.000 folk dancers and instrumentalists, witnesses its quality, a well-known name, and significance.

In this way, the festival which was created to cherish the tradition has become a tradition itself.
In the frameworks of this recognizable, traditional symbols of the festival, apart from four festival nights with their authentic concept of the program the very well known parade named “Singing and dancing in the streets of Bitola”, the grand opening of the “Legends of the komitas” performed by the CAA “ Ilinden” from Bitola as well as the magnificent numerous audience which with its well built sophisticated artistic sense has shown the fidelity and closeness with true values.