Serbian in Serbia

A Family Holiday

In Serbia, every Orthodox family has a patron saint who is celebrated each year with a feast that lasts from one to as many as three days. Traditionally, a family inherits the patron saint of the husband’s family. If the husband has no saint, the saint of the wife’s family is taken, or another favorite saint can be chosen. When the husband’s saint’s day arrives, the feast takes place in his home and he is the host. When the wife’s family’s saint’s day arrives, she and her family go to her parents’ home to celebrate.

Cooking for the feast can often begin as many as ten days in advance. There are no invitations sent for a saint’s day feast, since it is understood that everyone who has any relation to the family is welcome. In some cases, neighbors and friends might come on the first day, family members on the second day, and friends of the children on the third day. Many saint's day celebrations occur throughout the Christmas season.

Before the feast, the family cooks and decorates a traditional sweetbread. On the day of the celebration, either the priest comes to the house, or the family takes the bread to church where the priest will bless and pour red wine into its center. As well, a special, long, thick candle is brought to the house from the church. It is lit at the beginning and burns throughout the celebration.


  • "A Family Celebrating its Saint's Day"
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