5 Serbian Traditions Worth Experiencing

Find out about a different way of life with deeper knowledge of Serbian culture. This warm and friendly country has a population of over 7 million and a rich seam of cultural traditions. Get to know more about the beautiful nature and real living in this interesting region.

Serbia has a number of curious traditions together with more formal occasions like Orthodox Christmas and Easter. Take time to understand more about the customs that Serbians love most:

Djurdjevdan – When spring comes in Serbia it’s the signal to celebrate! That means ‘George’s Day’ (an Orthodox patron’s saint day), which takes place every year on April 23. Djurdjevdan brings a revitalizing spirit into the lives of Serbians. Based on the story of the dragon slaying Saint George (Sveti Dorde), it’s a very sacred time involving candle lighting and eating bread (kolach). Serbians also attend parties, sing folk songs, dance, and arrange flowers.

Slava – A Serbian Slava is a real experience that will help you more fully understand the country. Families in Serbia all share one patron saint and the Slava (or thanksgiving) is the time every year when they rejoice in their saint’s special day. During their Slava day, a family will welcome friends to partake in a grand feast. Candles are lit, special wine is drunk and the Slava bread is shared with all in attendance. A family’s saint is usually passed on from father to son.

Zapis – All Serbian villages have a sacred tree in their local vicinity that acts as a token of faith and communal well-being. A local priest will whittle a cross into the chosen tree (zapis), often an oak tree or similar kind. The tree is designated as special and becomes the focus for all village celebrations including Orthodox religious ceremonies, marriages, and the harvest festival (named krstonose).

Dodola – Occurring in spring, this is a pagan village custom where a girl dressed in leaves travels through town singing and dancing to a traditional song. Every homeowner she visits is expected to pour water on the girl in tribute to Dodola, the Slavic rain goddess.

Vidovdan – Held on June 15 (or June 28 on the Gregorian calendar), this religious holiday celebrates St. Vitus and the Serbian Orthodox Church. It dates back to 1389 when the Church defended itself from attack. It’s an important date in Serbia because a series of pivotal events have taken place on this date throughout history.

Understand your favorite Serbian members and feel their real passion.

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