Family Journal: Serbian Christmas 2010

We enjoyed celebrating as a family the Serbian Orthodox Christmas yesterday. The Serbs celebrate Christmas on January 7th. Here is a link to a great blog post on the traditions of Serbian Christmas. We tried to do some of them yesterday. On Christmas instead of the usual greetings of hello or how are you (caio, kako ste?) Serbs say “Hristos se rodi” which means Christ is born. The person receiving the salutation then replies, “Vaistinu se rodi” which means, “Yes, indeed, he has been born.” I tried this a several times and I always got a surprised look and a smile, and an immediate response. They do this for the two days after Christmas, so I hope to do this some more in the next couple of days.

The other tradition we did was to burn the badnjak (yule log). On Christmas morning, the father and eldest son are supposed to fell a young oak tree and put it on the family fire. This dates back to pre-Christian times, so I told the boys the story of the Slavic god Perun and his battles with the underworld god, Veles. We’ve been listening to podcasts on about the Greek myths. The site is great for kids and I highly recommend it. If I have the time, I would like to make one for the boys on Perun.
Burning of the Badnjak
The weather has been horrible. Lots of rain and grey. I would prefer either snow or sunshine and I don’t like this in-between stuff. It has been limiting our outdoor activity so I took the boys to the ISB gym yesterday to play soccer and tennis. Great fun.
I said “Hristo se rodi” (Christ has risen) to every Serb I met.

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