Tuesday, 16 October 2018 | News today: 1

Cetrse becomed a part of UNESCO’s Representative List

Cetrse – Feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs in Stip will become a part of UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, informs the Macedonian Ministry of Culture.

This was decided today in Baku – Azerbaijan, at the 8th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

“This is historic decision for our country, because this is Macedonia’s first intangible heritage on the UNESCO list”, declared the Ministry of Culture in a press release.


For several centuries, the Feast of the Holy Forty Martyrs takes place every year on March 22, honoring the venerable martyrs of Sebaste and marking the first day of spring. The holiday, also known as Ce’trse, holds an important position in the ritual calendar of the Stip population. The participants gather on the streets and squares of the city and then first go to the church on the hillside, paying tribute to the Holy Forty Martyrs. After that the ritual hiking up the Isar hill begins during which the participants perform rituals mainly concerning the number 40. It is customary that while going uphill, the participants greet 40 acquaintances and gather up 40 pebbles. They also take 40 flowers or 40 twigs from the almond trees that grow around. When they arrive on the top of the hill the 39 pebbles are thrown off into the Bregalnica river, thinking of wishes one would like to see come true. The 40th pebble is not thrown off, but it is kept and put under one’s pillow before going to bed that night. During the whole day, the inhabitants of this part of the town are visited and music bands are placed on the top or under the hill where the participants celebrate. Cetrse perceived as an integral part of this city’s cultural heritage, imbuing it with a strong sense of identity and continuity and involving all generations of local residents but also of all the other visitors of the city of Stip.  The rituals performed during the Feast are believed to be with an ancient origin which goes deeply in to the traditional believes of the entire population of this region. The respect of the magical number 40, which is also the other name of this element (Četrse), and all actions and rituals connected to that, are the most powerful tools for constant preservation of this celebration, that is its meaning and its importance for sharing, respecting and transmitting the leaving culture of the city of Štip. The bearers, specially the younger one who are much familiar with all rituals and their meaning, are becoming living archive and donors of memory to be transmitted in the future.