August 2, 2013 — Krushevo, Macedonia — As people from across the country and UMD delegates from around the world gather at Krushevo to mark 110 years since the St. Ilija’s Day Rebellion, Macedonian patriots reflect on the sacrifices made by our ancestors for the cause of Macedonian national liberation. The August 2nd Ilinden holiday is typically marked by a variety of cultural festivities and historical re-enactments which commemorate the establishment of the short-lived Krusevo Republic in 1903, a pivotal historical event which continues to echo to this day.
This bloody rebellion against Ottoman rule was particularly notable for its multi-ethnic character of Macedonian, Aromanian and other ethnic groups, lead by famous historical figures such as Goce Delcev, Nikola Karev and Pitu Guli. Although the Ilinden Rebellion would ultimately be put down by the Sultan’s army, guerilla fighting continued for years afterward, and the sacrifices of the Ilinden leaders inspired following generations of Macedonian revolutionaries devoted to the concept of an independent Macedonian state, one that was free from the tyranny of Istanbul, Sofia, Athens and Belgrade.
Every August 2nd, a parallel ceremony is also held at Pelince, near Sveti Prohor Pciniski Monastery. This was the location of the first plenary session of the Anti-fascist Assembly for the People’s Liberation of Macedonia in 1944, known as ASNOM. The timing of this event was deliberate, as it was 41 years to the day after Ilinden, and it would lead to the realization of the Goce Delcev’s dream of an autonomous Macedonian state where Macedonian culture, language and tradition would be preserved. The Republic of Macedonia ultimately gained its full independence in 1991.