Serbian Orthodox tradition, one of the marks that  characterized  the  Serbian  Orthodox  Church ,  the  most  stately day of the year for all Serbs of the Orthodox faith is Krsna Slava. That is an exclusively Serbian custom and plays a role of vital importance in the history of the Serbian people. Krsna Slava  is the celebration of the home Patron Saint, the celebration of the spiritual birthday of the Serbian people. It is a beautiful and unique expression of the Orthodox faith that is deeply implanted in the Serbian Christian soul.

All Serbs celebrate Slava, every family has their own patron saint that they celebrate on the feast day. Unlike most customs that are common for an entire people, each family separately celebrates its own saint; of course, there is quite a bit of overlap. It is inherited from the head of the household—normally the father—to sons. Daughters inherit the slava only if they stay in the home, while married women normally celebrate their husbands’ saint.

On the day of the Slava, the family attends church services and partakes in Holy Communion. Following the service, the parish priest is received in the family’s home. He performs a small service which entails venerating the Saint’s memory, blessing the slavski kolač and koljivo, red wine, as well as lighting the “slava candle”. Families keep with great honor an icon of this saint or feast which is passed from generation to generation. Kolac represents Christ as the bread of life. Zhito is symbolic of Christ’s resurrection and commemorates departed family members. Red wine is symbolic of Christ’s blood, and the candle proclaims Christ as the light of the world.

The home is open to ALL who come. Emotions of the celebrants are charged with the noblest motives. They have a readiness and desire to welcome and offer the best in friendship, food, drink , and all is ready and prepared in prayer. The host does not sit that day. His duty is to welcome and serve. There are many beautiful  toasts  pronounced and heard on that day by the host and the guests invoking blessings of God and the Orthodox Saints and exchanging the best wishes for each other.

The importance of Krsna Slava is not to have a huge, elaborate, and expensive party. All you need is the Icon of your saint, a candle, wheat, bread (kolach), and wine, the service of the priest, and an awareness that Krsna Slava is a great treasure passed on to you by your ancestors. This is a day for great spiritual rejoicing.


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