Christmas is one of the most important holidays of the year. We celebrate once a year with our family and friends, and we exchange presents and dishes. Some countries celebrate a little bit differently than we do--Montenegro, for example.
Montenegro is right next to Serbia, which is in Europe. They celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas. The trees are decorated on New Years instead of on Christmas Day. Christmas and Christmas Eve are on different days than ours, too; they go by the Julian calendar. Christmas Eve is on January 6, and Christmas is on January 7!
On Christmas Eve, the people of Montenegro set fire to Yule logs in front of the church of Resurrection of Christ and in front of the St. Basil of Ostrog Church. On that morning, the father of the family goes early in the morning to cut a young oak out in the forest, which is called the ‘Badnjak’. Under the table there is always straw to symbolize Jesus on his birthday and where he was born. Families fast and do not eat anything that comes from animals.
On Christmas Day, the Nativity of Jesus is celebrated in churches, and they have a liturgical gathering. At all services, the Nativity Enclytical of Serbian Patriarch Irinej and bishops of the SOC is read. Families eat a special kind of bread called ‘cesnica’. A coin would be hidden throughout the house, and whomever found it would have good fortune for the next year!
Although Christmas is a bit different in different countries, it is still interesting and fun to learn about. ~ Emily Proffitt