The Spirit of Orthodox Christmas in Sarajevo

Orthodox believers celebrate Christmas Eve on 6 January every year when “badnjak” – young cedar or oak tree logs, are traditionally lit in front of the churches, followed by the night of prayers and worship on the eve of the most important holiday – Christmas, which is celebrated on 7 January.


Christmas celebrations continue for three days; first day is usually celebrated with close family members and visiting the church, while the other two days are spent celebrating with relatives, neighbors and friends. Honoring this holiday in Sarajevo, the Divine Liturgies are served in several churches: Cathedral Church of the Nativity of the Theotoks, Zelenih beretki 1, the Old Orthodox Church located in Mula Mustafe Bešeskije 59, and the Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Zmaja od Bosne 43.


“Badnjak” logs can traditionally be purchased in the streets of Sarajevo, where locals who buy them take them home believing they bring happiness and joy to their homes. Special traditional Christmas food and cakes are made and a festive diner is prepared including česnica (ceremonial round loaf of bread), the house is cleaned and ready to welcome “polaznik” – the first person to visit the household.


In honor of Christmas, Serbian Cultural and Educational Society (SPKD) “Prosvjeta” is starting the year with a “Christmas Concert”, scheduled for Friday, 5th January at 8:00pm and taking place in the Sarajevo National Theatre. The programme will include classical and other genres and in addition to the spiritual part, the performances will include ecumenical songs as well as most famous Russian romantic songs.