Srećna slava domaćine!!!!!
Every Serbian family has a saint who is the patron and protector of the house. That saint is celebrated once a year, and during these three days, every family in Serbia has the biggest people and food management challenge.
Slava is an event during which you see long-distance cousins, greet your friends, and make Serbian hospitality looks like 5-star hotel service at your home. Most of the Slava-s are usually in the winter and during that time most of the people get an extra kg (or 5). (also the time when police get their 13th salary. So prepare money for a cab or limit the number of your wife’s drinks).
Tradition says that there is no invitation for Slava, you should just show up, and it is up to the host where you’re going to sit. To survive Serbian Slava follow these tips:
- Don’t eat anything the whole day, you need to prepare for the following feast.
- Always bring wine, and the same wine comes to you when you celebrate your Slava.
- Accept cheek kisses from the host’s grandma, even though she has a mustache!
- When you eat traditional zito always say: “I hope your daughter-in-law helped you to prepare this food”.
- Always agree with the political views of the Host’s uncle or you’re gonna hear 1-hour long story about the ex-Yugoslavian army and how they were the 4th powerful military force in Europe.
- Don’t spill your rakija, it is a sin.
- Don’t eat a lot of salads, keep yourself prepared for sarma (food porn) and pecenje (roasted pork). And of course prebranac.
- Sing along to Serbian songs. If you don’t know lyrics drink your rakija continuously or else they’ll find you weird (Western spy).
- If you’re vegan don’t come to slava you’re gonna be worse than the guy who spills rakija (maybe there will be some ajvar for you after all).
- At the end of your meal, you’ll have a GTFO (get the fudge out) A.K.A sikter coffee which means you are staying too long or you start talking about politics.
- Even though Slava is a religious holiday and meant to be celebrated in a small family atmosphere it’s not uncommon to be celebrated with 20-30 random guests, cause Serbs have big families and some people who are not blood-related to us are considered as a family ( God is on the sky , Kum is on the ground).
- Domaćin a.k.a host never sits or rests and constantly repeats Živeli Živeli!!!
- Children should not play under tables.
- Great excuse for not going to school or work. ( “Today is testing from math and it is very crucial. Nope, sorry I have Slava to celebrate.”
- If you perhaps stay over the night at a host’s house, brace yourself for all night looooong washing dishes marathon.
Very important to know: Even though you’re still eating sarma, keep your eyes on pecenje, you have to pick the best piece at the right time. When that time comes and you pick it right, your parents will cry tears of joy, and your mother will say to everyone that you’re an adult now. On Slava you are a kid if you can’t pick your own piece of meat.(krtina) Until you make that life-changing decision, you will still sit at the children’s table.
What is actually Slava?
The Slava is the family’s annual ceremony and veneration of their patron saint, a social event in which the family is together at the house of the patriarch. The Slava also brings friends to the house, regardless if they have the same Slava. The family saint is inherited from the patriarch (head of the household) – from father to son, while women do inherit the patron saint of their husbands upon leaving their families.
Some families may celebrate another patron saint in the case when the wife is the only left of her kin, in respect to her family. The tradition is an important ethnic marker of Serb identity. Serbs usually regard the Slava as their most significant and solemn feast day. The tradition is also very well preserved among the Serb on all 5 continents.