*Special thank you to the Embassy of Macedonia and UMD President Metodija A. Koloski for the hospitality & background information*
Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the United Macedonian Diaspora’s 12th Annual Old-New Year’s Masquerade Vasilica celebration at the Embassy of Macedonia. The embassy was packed to the brim with 200 stylish D.C denizens who were donned in glam ensembles and baroque masks.
Vasilica is a centuries-old Macedonian holiday that commemorates both, the feast day of St. Basil the Great and the New Year’s Day according to the Julian calendar. People from all over Macedonia and the region come to Vevcani wearing festive costumes and masks and dance throughout the two-day event. The Embassy of Macedonia was skillfully able to mold old tradition with new trends. I remember when I walked into the embassy, I was impressed with the party layout. The middle of the room had a bustling dance floor with a talented DJ who not only spun newer hits but meshed in 90’s jams. Often times, Washington D.C carries a stigma for having a deadened dance floor but this particular party deactivated the stigma. There was an active dance floor, delicious all you can eat goodies, and copious amounts of authentic Macedonian wine thanks to Stobi Winery.
I had the great fortune to sample delicious Macedonian delicacies such as Macedonian kebabs, tavche gravche (a special baked bean dish), shopska salad (cucumbers, peppers, onions with some salt, vinegar, and oliver oil), as well as the popular Macedonian walnut baklava. Each dish was scrumptious, fresh, and really filling.
Stobi Winery is well known in the D.C area for carrying special wines that use Vranec red (a special grape found in the Balkans), and for their whites and roses. I really enjoyed sampling the rose due to the beverage’s light taste, rosy hue, and smooth yet fruit finish. I recommend this special wine for any festivity. If you want to cultivate your palates and also be more cultured with your wine selections, visit MacArthur Beverages in Georgetown to find this delicious wine or even contact Aleksandar Krsmanovic at firstname.lastname@example.org from the Balkan Wine Project.
At the beginning of the evening, guests received a piece of bread–a welcoming token to any Macedonian household– which was baked by UMD D.C. representative Gordana Mirkoska. According to Macedonian Orthodox tradition, whomever finds the coin is blessed with luck, health, and prosperity throughout the year. One lucky guest found this coin and the crowd was overjoyed!
Later on in the evening, Ambassador of Macedonia Vasko Naumovski and UMD President Metodija A. Koloski warmly welcomed guests to the residence and invited all to eat, drink, and be merry. I definitely took their advice to heart, especially when I donned my sparkly, sapphire mask and pranced around the dance floor to every single 90’s song like I was a kid in the 90’s. I was also lucky enough to get on this super long conga line that seemed to have grabbed folks from different areas of the embassy. I will surely relish the singing faces, practical jokes (this random guy kept smacking men in the behind in a mysterious, Lothario-fashion) and overall ambiance of that moment.
Speaking of the Embassy of Macedonia, did you know the embassy was also known as the Moses House? It was constructed in 1893 and is a mixture of Queen Anne and Neoclassical architecture. This house was renovated over the years and officially opened as the Embassy of Macedonia on October 26, 2005. The architecture is both beautiful and mystifying. The curves of the roof along with the cream coffee-milk color, and the overall body of the residence is easy on the eyes. Based on this salacious yet provocative description of the house, I hope this entices you all to check this embassy out.
Lastly, all proceeds from Masquerade are given to the United Macedonian Diaspora’s scholarship program which gives grants to college students, and strengthens the internship program.
I had such a memorable time that I do hope to go back again next year!