Serbian Christmas and what it is


Nadine Padezanin- used with permission

Christmas day feast after fasting the previous night

Kendall Climo, Managing Editor

On Jan. 7, Serbian Christmas is celebrated by members of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Serbian Christmas is similar to Christmas, which most of us celebrate on December 25, but it is celebrated by members of the Orthodox Church on January 7.

Do you know what Serbian Christmas is?  Most people don’t know that it’s a holiday.  For example, most of us eat turkey or chicken on Christmas, but for the Serbians, it is tradition to fast on Christmas Eve and eat a whole pig the next day. They also will split the pig to make grape leaves. It may sound a bit strange, right? Well, it’s not what it sounds, grape leaves are actually a meat mixture wrapped in a leaf. Usually the meat will be beef or pork. 

 Serbians use a calendar called the “Gregorian Calendar”. This is why Serbian Christmas is celebrated on  Jan. 7 instead of Dec. 25.

“My dad, who is 100% Serbian, has only ever celebrated January 7 since I was born. He doesn’t celebrate the 25 at all. Since my mother married him and I wasn’t raised that way, I have always had two Christmas days. It was confusing as a child and I would hesitate to tell friends because I was “different.” As I grew up I began to embrace my culture and let others enjoy the love of our family traditions and holiday,” Nadine Padezanin, Mayor of Freedom, said.

Serbian tradition is to go to church on Christmas and then go outside to have a bonfire. You have the male of the family come into the house on Christmas Eve  and you toss rice at him. He brings in the hay which represents the hay from baby Jesus’s manger and lays the hay under the table. Then the day of Christmas, the first male into your home gives all the silver from his pocket to bring the family good luck for the year.

Serbian Christmas is a time for love and family just like Christmas on the 25 and has very many similarities and differences. Christmas will always be about one thing; to celebrate Jesus’s birth with family and friends.