Serbian Orthodox Tradition
Traditional life in the whole of Serbia, and hence in Belgrade, is rooted in eastern Orthodox. However, recent years have bought a sudden and intensive revival og tradition. As in other cities, the best way to meet the Belgrade tradition and customs is to be there during important traditional holiday. Both public and private celebrations can be very interesting.
This term is hard to translete by a single word, but it means the day of the patron saint of a family. One saint can be the protector of many families, but each family can only have one patron saint. There are sevral patron saintes, and hence several slavas, but the most of Belgradian families celebrate the slava of St. Nikola (December 19) and the of St. Archangel Michael (Novembar 21). The slava and the patron saint are inherited from the father to the son. Usually, people who celebrate slava, invite relatives and closest friends. For the slava, Serbians prepare a special cake. Boiled wheat with walnuts is served.
Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on January 7. During the Christmas Eve (January 6) you can join the Christmas liturgy at midnight, at any of the Belgrade Orthodox churches. The liturgy repeate on January 7 in the morning, but the midnight one is much more visited and more colorful. On the other hand, if you happen to be at home of some Belgradian for Christmas, you will probably see decorations made of small dry oak branches (badnjak), and you may find straw on the floor. A typical custom is the making of chesnitsa, a pise where usually put the nickel. The one who finds the nickel in his/her pisece belive in luckey during the entire year.
Orthodox Easter usually falls at the end og April, but always on Sunday. As for Christmas, there is a midnight liturgy in orthodox churches all over the city. You may have beautiful experience if you go to small church for the liturgy. Try, for example, the colorful Russian Orthodox chuch, behind St. Marco’s one. At homes of Belgradians, the Easter dinner is very luxurious, and the main custom is painting eggs.