Serbian Orthodox Christmas

“Orthodox Christmas is on January 7th, so on January 6th similar to, like, an American Christmas style, we put our shoes out in front of our beds and we put money in our shoes. Then the next day if we were good kids that year—its like quarters and nickles and dimes—then the money gets taken out of our shoes by Svetinikuil (spelling?), which is a Santa Claus type of character. You don’t put a significant amount of money in, it’s just kind of like pocket change.

“And because we are very Americanized now, when we wake up the money is gone and there are gift under the American Christmas Tree in the living room. I am not sure if back in Serbia there is a Christmas tree or not. My mother is still Orthodox, but we celebrate American Christmas and all those traditions—like leaving milk and cookies out on December 24th, but religiously we will celebrate on January 7th.”

According to Serbian Christmas traditions, the twelve days of Christmas last from January 7th to January 18th, but as Jelena said, her family only celebrates from this time as a religious holiday, instead choosing to still celebrate the ‘social’ holiday of American Christmas. She, like some of the other folklore posts, chooses to separate Christmas time into two different events. Previously Devin Carey spoke of how she separated Saint Nicholas Day and Christmas into one ethnic (the former) and one national (the latter). Now, Jelena is showing how Christmas festivities can be separated into religious (by celebrating Orthodox Christmas) and social or national (by celebrating American Christmas).