Celebrating Orthodox Christmas in Serbia

My family celebrated Christmas yesterday, on January 7th. Many Orthodox churches follow the Julian calendar, which is why we celebrate Christmas 13 days after most of the world does.

Because our Christmas falls after New Year’s Eve, a lot of our customs are different. For example, the kids expect Santa to leave them gifts not on Christmas, but on New Year’s Eve – simply because that one comes first. Meanwhile, our Christmas is filled with other customs.

On Christmas Eve, we burn the Yule log, which brings health and luck in the upcoming year.

On Christmas itself, we prepare a special type of bread and put a coin and a piece of Yule log in it. Whoever finds the coin will have money that year; the person who finds the Yule log will be healthy.

I enjoy Christmas time because it’s truly a family holiday. My husband’s family hikes to the top of the nearby mount each year, where we sit for a cup of hot chocolate. Now, this year we had to drive since I’m 8 months pregnant, but it was so enjoyable nonetheless.

This was also the first year I made the special bread, česnica, for the rest of the family. They all loved it, although I didn’t end up finding anything – better luck next year!

We had a great family lunch, had some dessert, and overall enjoyed the entire day. I can’t wait to celebrate the next one when we add another member to the family.


A 27-year-old married mom-to-be, trying to have it all. I have a full-time job I enjoy, a home I’m in love with, and plenty of hobbies I try my best to have the time for. A psychologist by vocation, with the goal of helping young women live their best lives.

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