With Christmas “fast approaching” (I’ll explain later..), which is probably my favourite time of the year, I thought to share a story from our own Christmas here in Serbia. I say our own, because after talking with fellow members of the blog, I realised that even all Christians – some Catholics, some Orthodox, have different customs and traditions that are interesting to mention.
First of all, Serbs celebrate Christmas by the Old Calendar, so our celebration takes place on January 7th instead of December 25th.
January is a month of partying and celebration here in Serbia, and the festivities start with New Years. We come around the decorated tree that day, exchange gifts, and then… we go out of course! Rakija or any other alcoholic drink is mandatory to blend in with the crowd!
The next important dates are Christmas aka Božić and Christmas Eve aka Badnje Veče. Both days are generally family orientated, where you all do things together, tell stories, enjoy each other’s company and try not to fight or cause any form of tension (it’s not only about being nice, but it’s also believed that it brings bad luck!). Whatever you do those two days, will follow you for the rest of the year! Beware!
As the tradition commands, on Christmas Eve, the “man of the family” should go to the nearest forest (or in any flea market if no forest around), and cut out a branch from an oak tree, as it is believed that when brought back to the house, it offers happiness and prosperity to the family! It is then left in front of the house, to salute anyone visiting during these holy days.
The next day is one of my favorite days of the year – Christmas!!! It is a cozy, warm, fuzzy day spent at home with your family! The day begins with a rich breakfast, and Česnica – a homemade bread with “hidden” surprises! Let me explain – when making the bread, your mom or grandma puts in different small things that have various meanings – corn seed for prosperity, coins for money, and so on. Then the bread is divided between the family and what you find in your piece is what you’ll have luck with in that year. This makes the breakfast a very fun event!
The rest of the day is filled with more food and more family time. This is such an awesome day exactly because of that – being at home, surrounded by loved ones. Whoever visits your home this day receives gifts and special treatment from everyone, as this is again a person that will bring you good luck in the upcoming year.
And then, the most shocking thing – WE GO OUT! Sounds crazy, right? But actually, it is always a great night out, especially in my home town. Požega is filled with people. Everyone is in an amazing mood because of all the serenity and the get-togethers of the two previous days!
And if this is not enough festivity for you, stick around for another week. Thanks to the Old Calendar I mentioned before, we have our own New Years, which we honour on January 13th! It’s known as Serbian New Years and again, we all go out and celebrate all night long!
We love making excuses for more partying in Serbia!!
So, now you can see, we kinda do it a little bit differently. We believe it’s the right way to start the year, because an all-year of amusement is a guarantee. 😀
Merry Christmas everyone!! May the following year bring you everything you’re planning and wishing for!
Hristos se rodi!