Christian and Orthodox Christmas celebrations may be a little different. However, we have many things in common: the most important thing at Christmas, whether on 24.12. or on 6.1., Is the family. And good food, of course.
At Christmas we get closer to each other. But when and how do people in other countries celebrate Christmas?? Why finer some Christmas on 24. December and others only on 6. January? Fact is: Whether Christ Child, Sarma or Cesnica: Christian as well as Orthodox Christmas is rich in traditions.
As different as customs, holiday looks and feasts may be, the unifying element is always the family. When the packages are brought in our neighboring countries may be the most important thing at Christmas for the little ones. But fancy gift ideas are not so important at all. Because the greatest thing everywhere is the time spent together with the family.
From Slovenia and Croatia to Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, the Czech Republic and HungaryHere you can find out how our neighbors celebrate the holidays.
Christmas elsewhere: celebrations in December& January celebrate
Christmas only on 6. January? When is celebrated where?
Christmas Eve also heralds the festivities in Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Croatia a. Families and friends celebrate with a decorated Christmas tree and many sung Christmas carols. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the cities are traditionally festively decorated until February. The Catholics start the celebrations there on 25. December. For Orthodox Christmas, on the other hand, New Year’s Eve and 7. January are celebrated. With the Orthodixen in Serbia is the holy day, the Badnji Dan on 6. January, is just as important as the following Christmas Day on 7. January. The Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on 6. or. 7. January is related to the fact that they celebrate Christmas according to the old Julian calendar (and not Gregorian).
Orthodox Christmas: Traditions among our neighbors
In the Slovakia traditions with a high symbolic value are celebrated. So it promises luck and health if someone cuts open an apple on Christmas Day and the seeds form a star. In some regions the old custom of hiding a fish scale under the plates on Christmas Eve is directed against money worries.
In Serbia on Badnji Dan of Orthodox Christmas, parents traditionally cover a room of the apartment with straw. Children find sweets, nuts and coins here. A coin is also hidden in the bread Cesnica. Whoever finds this should be free of money worries in the coming year.
In Slovenia the baking of the sweet and beautifully decorated bread Poprtnik is one of the oldest customs of the country. It is said to give health and strength. Partly also in Croatia old customs are still lived by lighting a fresh log in the fireplace, which is supposed to burn all Christmas day and bring good luck.
What’s on the table?
SlovakiaOn 24.12. is called fasting during the day until the first star appears in the sky. Then the dinner starts with Christmas wafers with honey and nuts or with garlic. After the traditional sauerkraut soup or halaszle (fish soup) and roasted carp, there are cookies and baked goods (vanilla crescents, gingerbread and Linz cookies are especially popular).
Bosnia and Herzegovina: At the table, the whole family comes together, everyone is expected to eat – for example, the popular cabbage roll sarma, stuffed peppers or the traditional pita. Even with desserts such as fruit cakes or cookies, the principle is: more is more.
SerbiaOn feast days, Serbians traditionally serve pickled vegetables, pasulji (white beans) and also the cabbage rolls sarma.
SloveniaIn all regions of the country, the famous potica is served on the table. Slovenians make the specialty from different types of dough and can prepare it with more than eighty different fillings. The most famous are those with walnuts, almonds, honey and poppy seeds.
CroatiaAfter the traditional fast on Christmas Eve, when families usually eat only cod, bread and salads, the food on the following holidays is more sumptuous. Besides the classic roast, Croatians also love the cabbage roulade sarma.
Czech Republic: Also here on 24. December until evening fasted. Later, there is the big feast, where nine different dishes are served, including pastries and Striezel. The meal is heralded with Halaszle, a fish soup preferably with carp.
HungaryHere delicious nibbles are in the center of the Christmas event. This already starts with the tree trunk cakes Kurtos kalacs, which can be found at every Advent market. On Christmas Eve, the traditionally popular Beigli are served. The dough rolls are filled with walnuts and poppy seeds and are often served after fish soup and sarma.
Christmas is the festival of love and family – and these desserts are sure to please everyone!