Customs during Christmas can range from one village to another, and they often do with little or no connecting dots except the name Božić. But what all nations, including Serbs, have in common is that the holiday period is connected to happiness, spending time with your family and above everything else, tons of good food. So, what can you find on an average Christmas dinner table?
Chicken or fish?
Christmas falls at the end of the Great Lent for Orthodox Christians, which occurs throghout December and January, but nowadays it seems that most people don’t fast the entire time. Although the Balkan cuisine is based on meat quite a lot, during the lent people turn towards a more healthy vegetarian option at least for a day before Christmas. Thus every other Christmas table up in the North has a difficult choice: have chicken or pork, or serve river fish as it is the tradition.
However, most families prefer to end their lent with a big bang and they go for a full on roast, pečenica, which stands out as the main course. But baked beans and sarma are no stranger to the holidays either – any traditional Serbian dish can find its spot on the table.
It may be moldy, it may be salty, or sweet, but it’s certainly good. Everyone loves a good cheese and depending on the region, a different kind (if any depending on the region) smoked cheese is served with the roast.
What does better with delicious cheese than a nice glass of wine? To be specific, mulled wine. Many families nurture the tradition of tasting the holiday spirit with a spicy mug of warm wine during the holidays. With the cold climate, it’s no wonder that the hug-in-a-mug is a kind of drink connected to the season.
Cookies in Serbia don’t mean what cookies usually mean; instead of the typical chocolate chip combination, most households prefer cakes or a wide variety of small treats like bajadera, orasnice, medenjaci and other traditional sweets. Most traditional holiday recipes feature nuts and honey, but all of these are called by one name – „sitni kolači“ which literally translates to tiny cakes. On top of that, baklava in the south and strudle in the North are the specialities!
You might be wondering what would is fruit doing among all the fats and sugar around here on the Christmas table? Well, it is not only to help keep the flu away, but fruit on the table is supposed to bring good luck since it is considered a symbol of plentiness. Oranges and mandarines can be found anywhere
This is a type of a loaf or dish which is made specifically for Christmas. There is a widespread custom to put a coin while making it and many different traditions are connected to it. But to find out more about what it really is, follow our social media accounts
Following dinner, young people visit their friends, the elderly narrate stories from the olden times while children listen carefully. Christmas songs are sung and there is holiday cheer in the air with everyone’s stomachs full all is bright.