Believers of the Serbian Orthodox Church are celebrating Christmas processions today, announcing a great Christmas fast.
Christmas processions are a national holiday whose roots are pagan and related to the celebration of the cult of the Sun. Like the baptismal feast, the celebration of the patron saint of the hearth is accepted in the Christian tradition. So today, the carnival is mostly related to the beginning of the Christian celebration of a fast during the year. Christmas processions fall on the eve of the beginning of Christmas fasting.
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Folk customs at Christmas carnivals
Carnival is a day of forgiveness and joy, so it is desirable to reconcile with everyone with whom we quarreled, so that the fast could begin “cleansed”. They are also characterized by masked processions, most often of young men, who pass through the streets, sing, ring and make noise in order to drive away evil forces. Masked processions, popularly known as cats, which the villagers give away meat, bacon, cakes…
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Large ritual fires are lit “olalije” which are ritually skipped or a circle is played around them, in spite of evil.
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People in some parts of Serbia believe that on this holiday, witches and other demons especially remember and gather around the carnival dinner around the house. That is why, after dinner, they tie chains in the house, throw the shells of individual eggs into the fire, rub the soles with garlic, and the children put on overturned pajamas and T-shirts before going to bed. As they do so, they say the following words: “A witch like a thread, my teeth like a stake.”
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