Orthodox Christmas

Christmas is along Easter, one of the two biggest Christian holidays. Christmas is a day that celebrates the birth of Christ. Christmas, 7th of January, remains the first family household holiday. That is a three-day holiday primarily focusing on the home and family and this orthodox holiday is filled with the most beautiful religious customs and rituals.

The people are cheerful and happy, spending time in their homes and with the loved ones and during the Christmas people reconcile, forgive each other and not fight.

In Serbia, people are welcome with the words: “Christ is born!” (Hristos se rodi) and the response is, “Indeed he is born” (Vaistinu se rodi). Christmas celebration begins with the Christmas Eve referring to the evening or entire day preceding Christmas Day on 6th of January. During sixth day of the year, the man of the house buys or cuts badnjak. Badnjak is the name for a log similar to a Yule log in other European traditions and it’s usual an oak. The ritual of its bringing into the house marks the beginning of the Christmas holidays while an important element of Christmas Eve is the burning of the Badnjak when the night falls. In the morning of January 7th, Christmas, the first person that enters the home is called “polozajnik”. This person should stoke the fire in the fireplace and say the following:

“How many sparks, that much sheep. How many sparks, that much money. How many sparks, that much health!”

The Polozajnik is then offered the “zito” (boiled wheat Christmas speciality) and black wine. The guest makes the sign of the cross and eats a bit of the “zito” and drinks some wine.

The first day of Christmas is a day of both solemn ritual and joyous celebration while the second day is spend in the quiet domestic mood while churches serve a special Liturgy. The Christmas is celebrated today as the most important holiday in Serbia and has not changed a lot for centuries and it represent in the best way the old religion of the Serbian people.

Posted on by Belgrade Apartments in Explore Serbia

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