Orthodox Christmas in Serbia in 2022

Orthodox Christmas in Serbia in 2022

  How long until Orthodox Christmas?
Orthodox Christmas
  Dates of Orthodox Christmas in Serbia
2023 Serbia Sat, Jan 7 National Holiday
2022 Serbia Fri, Jan 7 National Holiday
2021 Serbia Thu, Jan 7 National Holiday
2020 Serbia Tue, Jan 7 National Holiday
2019 Jan 7, Jan 8
SerbiaTue, Jan 8National Holiday (additional day)
SerbiaMon, Jan 7National Holiday
  Summary

The Orthodox Church recognises January 7th as the day that Jesus was born

  Orthodox Christmas in other countries
Orthodox Christmas internationally
Related holidays

When is Orthodox Christmas?

The Orthodox Church recognises January 7th as the day that Jesus was born. Elsewhere in the world, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th.

The difference in the timing of the Christmas celebrations stretches back to 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII, ruled that the Catholic Church should follow a new calendar – called the Gregorian calendar, as it was closer to the solar calendar than the Julian calendar.

History of Orthodox Christmas

The Julian calendar had been established by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.

Because it was the Catholic pope who ruled on the adoption of the new calendar, many churches not aligned to the papacy ignored it, such as Protestants and the Eastern Orthodox church. Protestants accepted the new calendar in the early 1700s.

In 1922, the patriarch of Constantinople decided that the Gregorian calendar should be followed for the observance of Christmas, but not for Easter, and this edict was followed by many of the other Orthodox churches.

The only Orthodox churches that still observe the January 7th date are the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian churches, the Serbs and the Mount Athos monks in Greece.

The Armenian Orthodox Church observes Christmas Day on January 6th. This was the original date for Christmas until the 4th century, rather than some Julian/Gregorian adjusted date.

Christmas Traditions in Serbia

In Serbia, Christmas Eve is known as Badnji dan, and after dark, it becomes Badnje veče. Families use this day to make preparations for the oncoming Christmas celebrations.

Similar to the yule log, there is the traditions of the 'badnjak' in which an oak log or branch is brought into the house and placed around the fire on Christmas Eve. They also have the 'strong water' tradition, involving a girl or woman collecting water from a well, spring, or stream on Christmas morning. This water is believed to have special beneficial powers to strengthen health.

Another tradition, though outdated and not widely followed by the majority of the Serbian population anymore, is 'Detinjci, Materica, and Oci', the three Sunday's before Christmas Day, where gifts are exchanged. Children give gifts on Detinjci, married women on Materice, and married men on Oci. To receive the gift, a game is played where the recipient of the gift is tied up and must hand over gifts to pay their ransom.

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