Empress of the Universe

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Serbian Christmas Eve

It's Badnja Vece (Serbian Christmas Eve) and tonight our choir sang in full force, during mass and outside during the traditional burning of the Badnjak (pronounced Bad-nyak). During Badnja Vece, the entire congregation leaves the church during mass to follow the priest outside to walk around the church three times before burning last year's Badnjak (oak tree, almost like a yule log). (Remember, the oak tree was the precursor to our now traditional evergreen Christmas tree.) The sparks that fly into the air from the burning Badnjak represent all the babies to be born in the coming year.

The choir followed the priest during the first circle of the church, then took our places on the church steps to sing a tribute to the Badnjak. It's a joyful hymn called Oj Badnjace (pronounced Oy Bad-nyach-eh, almost meaning Oh Glorious Oak Tree). OK, so we don't sound so great at the beginning, but (if you can stand it) from about 1:53, we sound much better!

After the burning of the Badnjak, the people return to the church for the continuation of the mass and more singing. After mass is over, everyone lines up to collect a piece of this year's Badnjak, tied with red, blue and white ribbons. There are treat bags filled with chocolates for the children. Every family greets the priest, then takes a piece of Badnjak home. It is traditional to remove last year's Badnjak before bringing in the new... Every year, our Badnjak sits above the frame of the Last Supper needlepoint that my mother-in-law crafted oh-so-many-years-ago, just above the entry to our home.

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Blogger Christine said...

sretan Božić

10:00 AM  
Blogger Michelle Henderson said...

Hvala puno!

10:51 AM  

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