Serbian New Year in Serbia in 2024

Serbian New Year in Serbia in 2024
Fireworks over St. Sava's Church to mark Orthodox New Year in Belgrade Image via Deposit Photos
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Serbian New Year
  Dates of Serbian New Year in Serbia
2025 Serbia Tue, Jan 14 Not A Public Holiday
2024 Serbia Sun, Jan 14 Not A Public Holiday
2023 Serbia Sat, Jan 14 Not A Public Holiday
2022 Serbia Fri, Jan 14 Not A Public Holiday
2021 Serbia Thu, Jan 14 Not A Public Holiday

Known as Old New Year, New Year in the Julian calandar falls on 14 January in the Gregorian Calendar

  Serbian New Year in other countries
Serbian New Year internationally

Orthodox New Year is observed on 14th January in Serbia. Although not an official public holiday, it is still a popular day.

Commonly known as Serbian New year, this holiday marks the so-called 'Old New Year' that was celebrated under the Julian Calendar.

History of Orthodox New Year

On 1st January 45 BC, the Romans adopted a new calendar that had been proposed by Julius Caesar. This 'Julian calendar' was a significant improvement on the older system which only had 355 days a year. However, it still caused an issue as the 365-day years were corrected by a leap year of 366 days every fourth year. This meant the calendar gained three days every four centuries.

To improve the calendar, the Gregorian calendar was introduced in the 16th century, eventually replacing the Julian calendar in most countries. When the change was made, the calendars had to be adjusted by removing 12 days.

However, the Julian calendar is still used by parts of the Orthodox Church, which is why Orthodox New Year is celebrated on 14th January. This is also why, it might be referred to, somewhat confusingly as Old New Year.

A (slowly) movable feast

As the years progress, so does the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars, meaning that sometime after 2100, Orthodox New Year will be on 15th January. And it is not just the Orthodox Church that uses the old date for the festival date. Yennayer on 12th January is the New Year of the North African Berbers, whose calendar is closely based on the Julian calendar. Makar Sankranti in India is another Solar based festival whose date is shifting; this time over thousands of years from its original date of 21st December to 15th January.

Traditions of Orthodox New Year

In Serbia, Orthodox New Year celebrations are similar to the New Year on 1st January.

A popular event is the fireworks display organised by the Serbian Orthodox Church, which takes place in front of the Church of Saint Sava in Belgrade, as pictured above. And most restaurants, clubs, cafes and hotels are usually fully booked and celebrate New Year with food and live music.

In northern Macedonia, families traditionally make pita bread and hide a coin inside one of them. The individual who ends up finding a coin in their bread is believed to be blessed with good fortune.

Orthodox New Year also takes place within the twelve days of Orthodox Christmas and a traditional folk name for this day is Little Christmas.

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