Be careful, both men and women show their affection with three kisses on the alternate cheeks. Otherwise, someone will tell you: "God helps three times". Three is, in some way, national sign. All people in the World show two fingers as the sign of victory, we use to show three.
Kolo (Cyrillic: коло) is popular collective folk dance. It is part of many Slavic cultures. There is various styles of dance.
Preservation of folk dance is part of our heritage and is popularized by folk dance ensembles. Interesting is that kolo is part of everyday social meetings such as weddings and any other type of celebrations.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Respect your host!
Hospitality is very important in culture of all Balkans nations. It is also and question of personal pride and honor. People here in country are very friendly and socialization are big and important part of our life.
Invitation for visit residents is proof of personal trust and mutual respect!
If you planing to visit someone house on your own (after you been invited) it is customary to call or send message in advance and arrange meeting. Don't only show up at the doorstep! Host like to be perceived like "householder" (domaćin) especially mans like that. They would offer you some snack or even full lunch (depend your reason for your visiting). Don't worry if you too selective regards your nutrition and eating habits. If your host know any of that kind of information be sure that they will respect that! Since proper hosting take resources and time always arrange visit in advance! The "three days rule" is recommended for call but that depend for many reasons but mostly how well you know your host and is there some special event.
If you visited someone house for the first time then it is nice to bring some small gifts to your host. Selection it depend of how you know well your host. I like to bring some staff that I know that my host like. Any case it could be small box of cookies or box of chocolates (known as "bombonjera") if you visit younger person or popular bag of coffee and box of sugar for elderly. Nice bottle of wine (probably some homemade) is also nice and very formal if you know that your host like that. This is more gift for gentlemen. Always bring small gift for kids if your host have any. Any chocolate or even "Kinder egg" sweets would do. That kind to kids don't limited only for fist visit. You will be very nice guest for they for sure.
Special events like personal, family and religious event (witch they always at least two for every personal event) are special occasion and reasons to strengthen your relations with locals. It considered to person are honored by invitation especially on Slava. If you accepted by kind and show up! It will expected from you to arrive on time (if it possible, of course)!
No matter what is reason for your visit you will be treated with honor. They will offered you the food and drinks and they will respect your wishes.
That why it necessary to arrange visit in advance so that your host can prepare all. Even if your host live in humbled condition she/he would make you feel nice and welcoming. Only thing you can do is show your gratitude. Don't make joke about hosts or its house. I think that is general rules in any place in world.
It will be expected to take off your shoes! They make sure that it will be protected and it will not leave it in front of door then inside. If you smoke ask if your host allowed, it usually is even if your host don't smoke.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Family Travel
New years celebration
Winter here is not always followed with snow and snowing activity but there is plenty of holidays that always make this season very attractive for visitors. In fact, I considered this time of years to be most cheerful in year, dispute all odds.
Period of winter holidays in Republika Srpska are festive days but here it start about middle December till middle of January following year.
Why? Since most of Doboj inhabitants are Christian Orthodox and the Serbian Orthodox Church follow old Julian calendar. That means that all official holidays are 13 days later then official international Gregorian calendar.
In fact, New Year fest here is 13th January and Christmas is on 7th January. Official international New Year celebration on 31th December is still a great celebration. But maybe even better is on 13th January. Center of every bigger place is illuminated by holidays decoration and often on very end of New Year (both times) are a big musical manifestation and fireworks. Truth is that economic crisis caused limitation in public celebration of important dates.
Doboj is still one of rare towns besides Banja Luka that still have a two New Year celebration in January. For that purpose local government closed main squares or/and some parts of main street where is take part big concerts. There was rich musical program for both of celebrations.
Besides that many people take part in smaller arranges parties in local cafes and restaurants and youth prefer inside party on their home.
Besides New years celebration don't forget any Christmas celebration (Orthodox and Catholic) and in that time, besides religious part there is also and social events.
There is also many other important (religious and national) dates that are followed with some kind of public ceremony such as St. Stefan or Day of Republika Srpska.
So, if you passing trough Republika Srpska in that period you may expect to have a nice time.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Family Travel
Paying the bills
Don’t be surprised if someone call you for a lunch or dinner and pay all. It’s a custom here. Even if their salaries are too small, people won't let their guests to pay anything. They don’t pay they bills separately even if they see each other for a first time. To pay just what you had for a drink or food?
"The Housekeeper" is the first coloured egg. Mostly the red one. People keep it a year, until the next Easter. It is usual to colour eggs on the Great Friday before dawn. The most beautiful eggs are first drawn with wax then coloured in paint. It makes beautiful drawing on it.Related to:
- Religious Travel
The family feast of the Patron Saint
One of the essential characteristics traditional things, which make a difference between Serbs and other Orthodox or other Christians, is “Krsna Slava” (The feast of the Patron Saint), the cult of celebrating the protector of the family. On that day, master of the house, invite Godfather, Godchildren and the family to celebrate together with him and his family. When father died, sons continue to celebrate the same protector. It is always the son and if father has just a daughter(s), they are not continuing than takes husband’s feast.
The most solemn part of celebration is breaking Feast Bread, and it is beginning with lighting the Feast Candle. After he makes the sign of the cross, master of the house do it. The priest burns incense of the house and sacred the water. With that water, using a small bouquet of basil, he besprinkles all present, and sing a holy song to the Patron and read a pray under “Koljivo” (grinded cooked wheat) which takes the central place on the celebration. Next holy song is to the wheat praying the God to bless it and bless all who will taste it after. Than the priest takes the bread in his left hand and by the right hand blesses it. After that, he turns around the bread and cuts it as a sign of cross. That cross he sprinkles with the red wine. Master of the house, together with his Godfather and the priest, starts to turning the bread around. Members of the family join them singing the holy song. The master of the house and the Godfather cut the bread and kiss it three times.
I tried to explain you this ceremony. Maybe you understand, maybe no, but it is great honor if someone invites you on the ceremony. That three things (bread, candle and wheat) are important for the ceremony and after it, people use to serve the lunch as best as they can.
Until the candle is lighting the master of the house has no right to sit down. It means that he has to serves the guests all the time.
My Krsna Slava is Saint George (6th May by new calendar).
Orthodox New Year
Our church, Serbian Orthodox Church, didn't accept the New calendar and we celebrate New Year on, hm, and yours 13/14th January by “yours” calendar. We call it “Serbian New Year”.
The central celebration party is always on the Republic Square with lot of popular musicians, trumpeters, fireworks, hot "Rakija" (home made plum brandy) and hot red wine...
A thousands of people are there doesn't meter which temperature is. Party is always good and you will feel just a heat.
As everything here is in the sign of “three”, almost every home here has altar with three icons. One is, always, of the Patron Saint and the rest are, mostly, Jesus and Holy Virgin. It is always on the eastern wall in the house.
I have Saint George on the top, triptych which is about 300 hundred years in my family, and a small icon of Jesus which my grandmother was caring in her purse. Also, the sanctuary lamp is more than 200 years old.
OK, not everywhere. In state institutions is forbidden but everywhere else you can light a cigarette. Even, people walk and smoke. It is ours national sport, too. Obligatory, offer the other with a cigarette.
Look at in the eyes when you are toasting!
When you drink, doesn't matter what but especially alcohol drink, and you want to toast, obligatory look at right in the eyes. It's tradition and a sign of respect. Otherwise, they will think that you minimize thing you toasting to and tell you: “Look at me in the eyes”!
"We will do it easily..."
If you come for a business trip don't be wonder if you business partner tell you "We will do it easily, let's go eat something first". It's the tradition here. Whole social, business, cultural and, why not, love life are happening here in coffee bars and restaurants. Simply, we love to eat and drink and there we feel "like a fish in a river".
Prijatno i ziveli! (Bon Appetite and cheers)
To be a Godfather
To be a Godfather is really something honour here. We use to say: "God in the Heaven, Godfather on the land". Godfather is NEVER a member of the family. Some family has Godfather from the other family for years.
Rakija is Serbian brand, the national drink. It is made mostly from plumbs (“Sljivovica”) but there, is also, made from peers (“Kruskovaca” and “Vilijamovka”, apples (“Jabukovaca”), apricot (“Kajsijevaca”), quince (“Dunjevaca”)… You can buy in the shops industrial but the real experience is to drink the home made one.
Be careful. It is very strong, sometime more than 50%.
The "pecenica" is something probably left from pagan times. Two mornings before the Christmas, on “Tucindan” we make "pecenica" on traditional way and eat in for Christmas breakfast. It is mostly a small pig but it could be a lamb too.
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