When I say “T’ga za Jug” (Longing for the South) in Macedonia, two things for sure come in your mind: a poem and a wine. T’ga za Jug is a poem by Kostantin Miladinov (1830-1862), a poet from Struga who wrote this emotional and beautiful poem while he was in Russia, far from his homeland, and he expressed his suffering and his nostalgia for the South – Macedonia, in this case – in few, intense words.
The wine, which takes the name from the poem, is one of the most traditional macedonian wine, delicious itself. Moreover, “T’ga za Jug” is the poem which every year is read for the opening event of a poetry festival in Struga in honour of the Miladinov brothers. But what’s the meaning of “Longing for the South”?
The South is not just a geographical area, but it’s a way of life with specific characteristics. In the definition of South one can meet some commonplaces: sun and sea, warm people, traditional cultures, agriculture, good gastronomic tradition and so on. Often, in the common thinking, the south of the world in general is defined like in late with the development and someone may say that its people are lazy, they don’t want to work, they just want to sit and eat, they oppose traditions against modernity and they will never learn the right way of life. At the same time, the north is a metaphor of efficiency, development, industrialization, modernity and changes towards the future.
Something it is losing in this discussion, it’s a word, the most important word: resistance. The South is simply resisting to the pressure of the north, is trying to save its own cultures and language and uses and customs. This part of the world doesn’t have the need to being better and to run everyday searching for something more: southern people feels good with those things that has, and wants to protect them. It doesn’t mean that they will be forever the same, everything changes, but the South will never change completely: small spaces of resistance are always produced.
Bearing in mind this strong character of the South, of all the Souths in the world, some particular kind of homesickness is felt by southern people? Pay attention: I’m not saying that northern people don’t feel nostalgia or something like that, I’m saying that the homesickness of the South has maybe something different. Who knows the feeling, knows also that being far from home, when you are from the south, means being far from a great and warm family (sometimes also too invasive) which never stands up immediately after the lunch, far from the ever-blue sky, from the sea which shines under the orange sunset, from its typical food (which grandmas always ready to cook for you), from the noise of the street and from the high-volume voices of the people, from the colors of the fields and the citrus groves, far from the confusion of the street markets. Yes, all the commonplace are confirmed, but they are not weaknesses, they are the things which made the south as it is.Being far from home it means to be homesick. When you go to the south, you will cry for two times: when you arrive and when you leave it.Being far from the south it means that your soul desperately search for the South, it means longing for the south.
By Valeria Ferrante