Macedonians plant flowers during Days of Spring festival
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia once again held its Days of Spring: Days of Ecology festival, and the focus of this year's celebrations was the rose. The beginning of what could build into a tradition started last year with the initiative "Skopje, City of Flowers: Skopje, City of Roses", which featured the mass planting of white roses in public areas throughout the city. The Macedonian capital has adopted the white rose as a symbol of love, purity and harmony.
This year, the initiative sped all over the country under the motto "Macedonia: Land of Flowers, Land of Roses". Every municipality in the country joined in by involving citizens and schools, and roses were planted at pre-selected locations in each municipality. Primary schools were also involved in a number of related creative activities.
The rose is a woody perennial that is both an effective extractor of heavy metals from soil and an ambient air purifier. It is hoped that the proven environmental and aesthetic benefits of roses will inspire citizens throughout the country to play a more positive and active role in their communities.
The REC's country office in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has made significant efforts in recent years to educate younger generations about sustainable development. It supported the initiative last year and is now supporting primary schools to implement the "Macedonia: Land of Flowers, Land of Roses" initiative.
The REC office has developed guidelines for school directors and municipal advisors in education for conducting art workshops and has organised an exhibition to highlight student work. It has also developed a crafts manual in the form of a rose and designed a poster for schools with information about the exhibition.
The festival started on March 20 with the planting of roses in Skopje, and continued the following day in all other municipalities. The city of Stip hosted a diplomatic core, each representative of which had the opportunity to plant a rose. The REC office delegation participated at all events and once again seized the opportunity to raise environmental awareness by donating Green Pack and Green Pack Junior multimedia packs, t-shirts, notebooks and CD-ROMs to primary school children in Stip who exhibited their flower creations in the town square.
Also on the March 21, the REC office delegation participated in an event during which renowned painter Zivko Popovski-Cvetin conducted a creative workshop for pupils at Goce Delcev Primary School in Skopje.
In addition to the engagement of local schools, the entire initiative has the support of more than 30 Macedonian companies, including small businesses, private trade companies, factories and industrial firms. More than 100,000 rose bushes have now been planted in the country, along major boulevards and in parks, public squares, schoolyards and hospital grounds.