Denes nad Makedonija
|English: Today Over Macedonia|
|Denes nad Makedonija|
National anthem of North Macedonia
|Lyrics||Vlado Maleski, 1943|
|Music||Todor Skalovski, 1941|
|Adopted||14 April 1989|
|Readopted||11 August 1992|
|Relinquished||8 September 1991|
"Denes nad Makedonija" (instrumental, one verse)
"Denes nad Makedonija" (Macedonian: Денес над Македонија, pronounced [ˈdɛnɛs nat makɛˈdɔnija]; lit. "Today Over Macedonia") is the national anthem of North Macedonia. Both the music and lyrics date from the early 1940s. Todor Skalovski composed the music, while the lyrics were written by Vlado Maleski. It was adopted as the Macedonian national anthem in 1992, a year after the state's independence was declared from Yugoslavia. Before its adoption as the Macedonian national anthem, it was used as the regional anthem of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, a constituent state of Yugoslavia.
The lyrics of "Denes nad Makedonija" were penned by Vlado Maleski, a writer who was active in the Partisan movement during World War II. In particular, he took charge of Radio Skoplje in December 1944, penned the manuscript for the first Macedonian-language movie, sat on the editorial board of the first Macedonian publishing house, and was part of the Commission for Language and Orthography that submitted recommendations to the government on standardizing the Macedonian alphabet, which were subsequently accepted. For his extensive contributions to the country's literature, Maleski is regarded as part of "the first generation of Macedonian prose writers".
The musical portion was composed by Todor Skalovski, one of Macedonia's most distinguished composers who also served as the conductor of its opera. He is also regarded as one of the trailblazers in composing music inspired by and incorporating Macedonian culture and mythology. The song was first played in 1942, among groups affiliated with the communist and Partisan resistance in Struga (which also happens to be Maleski's birthplace). According to oral recounts, the hymn was played by Maleski himself on New Year's Eve in the presence of 24 youths, whose identities were subsequently documented in writing only in 1981. Even though the resistance consisted of fighters from the different ethnic groups across Yugoslavia, the aforementioned youths are believed to have all identified as Macedonians. From the end of the war, it was utilized – albeit unofficially – as the regional anthem of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia (which was part of Yugoslavia at the time) until 1989. Meanwhile, during the Informbiro period, a small change was made in the lyrics. In the new version the names of Nikola Karev and Dimitar Vlahov were scrapped and that of Dame Gruev was added. Karev's name was removed, as he and his brothers were suspected of being Bulgarophile elements. Vlahov also was dismissed, because he came from the Bulgarian Communist Party, communicated much better in Bulgarian than in the newly codified Macedonian language, and had no political supporters in Macedonia. On 14 April 1989 the socialist republic's Assembly amended the Constitution of 1974 to expressly affirm "Denes nad Makedonija" as its official regional anthem. This change was short-lived, however, as the Assembly declared Macedonia's sovereignty two years later in January. This was approved on 8 September 1991 in a referendum that saw Macedonians vote overwhelmingly in favour of independence.
Soon after independence, the Macedonian national legislature held a contest to determine a national anthem for the newly-sovereign state. "Denes nad Makedonija" was one of several candidates in contention – the others in the running were "Himma" (English: "Anthem", lit. Hymn) by Taki Hrisik and "Dani bideš večna" (English: "That You Should be Eternal") by Aleksandar Džambazov – and ended up finishing runner-up in the final results. In spite of this, most of the Assembly Commission voted to make it the national anthem of the nascent state, and it was duly adopted on 11 August 1992.
"Denes nad Makedonija" consists of four stanzas, none of which have been codified by legislation. The second stanza, however, has been omitted from the recognized lyrics of the national anthem posted on government websites.
Context of lyrics
The lyrics of "Denes nad Makedonija" are reflective of a military marching song, which is fitting given its connection to the Yugoslav Macedonian theatre of the Second World War. They are not a call to arms for Macedonians; rather, the hymn uses imagery to take the person singing it back to the time the anthem was written, and purports that they themselves were engaging in combat at the time. Furthermore, the lyrics previously alluded to the concepts of mothers and motherhood (specifically in the second stanza). This is in line with the national anthems – both past and present – of other Southeast European countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina ("Jedna si jedina"), Croatia ("Horvatska domovina"), and Montenegro ("Oj, svijetla majska zoro"). It discussed how mothers mourn for their fallen sons, who died fighting for the rights and liberty of their country. They are comforted for their loss by being reminded of the bravery of their sons and the nobleness of the cause for which they died. Although this theme has been described as a "standard anthemic device", it was subsequently expunged from the official words of the anthem.
Macedonia's Sobranie (legislative chamber) passed legislation titled "The Law on the Anthem of the Republic of Macedonia" on 11 August 1992. This officially adopted "Denes nad Makedonija" as the national anthem of the then-nascent country, with Article 2 specifically confirming the song's status as such. However, it did not stipulate which stanzas were to be recognized as official. Curiously, the statute did not technically pass with the requisite two-thirds majority as stipulated by Article 5 of the country's constitution for proposals concerning national symbols (the anthem, the flag, and the national emblem). Although 88 out of the 120 members of the assembly voted for it, representatives elected from the Albanian community were not involved.
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