Christmas in Macedonia

Christmas in Macedonia
The Christmas celebration begins on January 5th, the evening, known as kolede. Children go from door to door singing Christmas carols and receiving fruits, nuts and sweets from the people.


Later in the evening, the elderly gather around a fire outside, and engage in a conversation about the past year, and about the year to come.

The following evening is the Christmas Eve, when traditional oak log (badnik) is brought to the family hearth. This log is cut by the male head of the household and the older son, while the table is being set for the Christmas Eve Fast supper (Posna Veccera).

The log is cut into three pieces, representing the Holy Trinity, and each piece is brought into the house by the father.

A son, or some other member of the Family receives each piece and places it on the fire. As this is done, the son and the father exchange a greeting: “Good evening and happy Christmas Eve” (Dobra Veccer i Vesel badnik).

While the log is being placed on the fire, the mother and the grandmother gather the children together and, from the outside, enter into the room where the supper is to be served. Each person carries a bundle of straw and the mother leads the children in spreading around the room the straw on the floor.

The house is decorated with oak branches with their leaves on, representing the wish of the family for long and healthy life, “with health strong as oak, and with a life log as that of the oak.”

Then the fasting supper is served on the same table that the Christmas candle is burning. The fasting supper is composed of strict vegeterian recipes, such as cooked vegetables, nuts, bread (pokacha) and dried fruits.

In the bread, a coin is being put while before it was baked. The traditional belief is that whoever gets the coin in his/her piece, will have a particularly successfull year to look forward to.

The Christmas candle is then lit, and everyone sings a Christmas hymn. Very early Christmas day, people attend the first morning church service.

After the family returns from church, the first guest arrives. This is usually a man who is a dear friend of the family, and he is especially honored during the celebration.

When he first arrives he goes to see the yule log fire. He is then met by the host,who kisses him and gives him this special greeting: “CHRIST IS BORN” (Hristos se rodi). The guest replies: “INDEED, HE IS BORN” (Voistinu Se Rodi).

These greetings are exchanged throughout the three days or Christmas. After the exchange or the greetings, the guest shakes the burning oak log and when the sparks fly up, he recites his best wishes for the family. He usually does this in rhyme, mentioning the Special desires of the family.

The Christmas dinner usually consists of roast suckling pig and other festive dishes; the very festive meal begins and the celebration continues for three days.