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Krsna slava

Culturalmente Imparando

Krsna and Slava in Serbian mean respectively "baptized" and "celebration": it is in fact a ceremony linked to the Orthodox Christian cult and practiced in Serbia, but evidence is also found in neighboring countries (although different in form). Essentially, the Krnsna slava consists of an annual rite in which homage is paid to the patron saint of his family on the day of the celebration. The family saint is transmitted from father to son, while the women acquire it from the husband following the marriage.

During the celebration typical dishes of the Serbian tradition are prepared to be shared with family and friends, including the kolač (a form of ritual bread) and the koljivo (a dish of boiled wheat). Both dishes are blessed by a priest who visits the family house celebrating his patron saint. A beeswax candle is also lit. The bread (richly decorated with Christian symbols) and the boiled wheat symbolize respectively the body and blood of Christ, the candle instead the divine light.

Being a ritual linked to family identity, the Slava has taken on a strong ethnic connotation, to the point of being felt as one of the most important Serbian traditions. Thanks to the transmission of the patron saint from father to son, it has been possible for many people to reconstruct pieces of their family tree. Tradition goes back to the Middle Ages and to the cult of Saint Sava (known as the "Enlightener"), Serbian Archbishop who lived between the 12th and 13th centuries and a leading figure in the national culture of the Balkan country. The Slava reminds families of the importance of baptism and the strong bond with Christianity. Since then it has been the custom to celebrate the patron saint of the family every year. The Slav for its historical and cultural importance was included in 2014 among the intangible assets of UNESCO.


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  • L'Autore

    Mario Rafaniello

    Mario Rafaniello Vice Responsabile della rubrica “Culturalmente Imparando”. Partecipa anche all’entusiasmante progetto “Japan 2020” e si interessa di arte, cultura e letteratura.

    Laureato in Giurisprudenza e laureando in Relazioni Internazionali. Attualmente collabora con diversi portali online.

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