Serbia officially the Republic of Serbia is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. A landlocked country that borders Hungary to the north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; Macedonia to the south; and Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro to the west; also, it borders Albania through the disputed region of Kosovo. The Capital and largest city of this country is Belgrade.
Christmas Celebrations in Serbia :
The Serbian name for Christmas is Božić, which is the diminutive form of the word bog “god”, and can be translated as “young god”.
In Serbia and Montenegro, the main Church is the Orthodox Church and they still use the old ‘Julian’ Calendar, which means that Christmas Eve in on 6th January and Christmas Day in on the 7th January. Advent in the Orthodox Church starts on 28th November and last for six weeks. During Advent, some people fast and they don’t eat food that comes from animals.
Serbian Christmas traditions are customs and practices of the Serbs associated with Christmas and a period encompassing it, between the third Sunday before Christmas Day and Epiphany. There are many, complex traditions connected with this period. They vary from place to place, and in many areas have been updated or watered down to suit modern living.
Christmas is celebrated for three consecutive days, starting with Christmas Day, which the Serbs call the first day of Christmas. On these days, one is to greet another person with “Christ is Born,” which should be responded to with “Truly He is Born,”.
On Christmas Eve, families gather and all families fast and don’t eat food that comes from animals. It is the last day of the Christmas fast. Christmas is a very religious holiday and most people go to the Christmas Services. There are a lot of old Serbian traditions associated with the countryside, which have now lost their meaning because more people live in towns and cities. On the morning of Christmas Eve, the father of the family used to go to the forest to cut a young oak called the ‘Badnjak’ (Christmas Eve tree) but today people just buy one. Under the table there should also be some straw as a symbol of the stable/cave where Jesus was born.
At Christmas a special kind of bread is eaten. It’s called ‘cesnica’ and each member of the family gets a piece. There is a coin hidden in it and whoever gets the coin will be particularly fortunate in the next year. People in Serbia and Montenegro also celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day, but on the 19th December. During the time when Serbia and Montenegro was under communist control, the communist government didn’t like St. Nicholas or Santa Claus, so they had their own version called Grandfather Frost or Christmas Brother, who came on New Year’s Eve.
In Serbia people greet Merry Christmas as Sre’can Bo”zi’c
We wish all readers Merry Christmas 2016 & Prosperous New Year 2017 !!!