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How to celebrate Christmas in Montenegro

Christmas is celebrated the day after Christmas Eve and is the most important holiday for Montenegrins. It lasts until the last days of January.

Two days before Christmas, January 5th, a pig or lamb is slaughtered, and in some places, a turkey or goose. Children cannot be punished on this day - there is a belief that otherwise they will behave badly for the whole next year. This day is called Tucindan. Christmas Eve, January 6, is called Badnidan.

Christmas is a very religious holiday and most people put on holiday clothes and go to Christmas services. There are many old Serbian traditions associated with the countryside that have now lost their meaning.

Earlier, on Christmas day, the father of the family went to the forest to cut a young oak tree called “Badnyak”. This is still a tradition in the rural part of the country. But most city dwellers replace Badnyak by buying a pair of oak twigs with their brown leaves. Such small badyaks can be bought at local bazaars or in churches.

Badian brought home as many men live in the house, and another badian for the angel, one for the baby Jesus, one for a successful year and a few more just in case. As a rule, local people are guided by the rule "the more, the better." However, the number of logs should be odd.

On January 6 and 7, they all congratulate each other with the words: “Bozhych Srechan!” Or “Celebrate God's blessings!” This greeting is observed until the Feast of the Epiphany (January 19).

The Serbian Orthodox Church organizes a public celebration on Christmas Eve. Around 17:30 people begin to gather on a large plateau in front of the cathedral, carrying large and small oak logs and branches and throwing them into a common fire. 

The Nativity of Christ is an incredibly beautiful event, and the atmosphere during the days of the celebration is solemn.

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