Quick! Think of a Serbian folk song. A traditional one. Now, I’m guessing that at least half of you thought of a song that involved a shepherd or shepherdess, a flock of sheep, or something pastoral like that. This is how deeply rooted the idyllic shepherd’s life is in Serbian culture. Continue reading
There’s a Serbian folk song that says “jelek, anterija i opanci, po tome se znaju Srbijanci” – “jelek (vest), anterija (jacket) and opanci (shoes), this is what Serbians are known for”. In a specific sense, i.e. the styles of these, this is very true; in a general sense, not so much. The garments are the result of centuries of foreign influences. But what about those shoes? Continue reading
A coloured egg at Easter is a joyous reminder of spring, of rebirth and resurrection. The art of egg decoration almost died out entirely among the Serbs, but has survived through the traditional lives of remote villagers and the efforts of educators, museums and cultural institutions in both Serbia and the diaspora. Continue reading
Among Serbian folk songs, no river is more sung about than the Morava river. It is described as “moje selo ravno” – “my village in the plain”; “tiha reko” . “quiet river”; on the other side of the Morava (“s one strane Morave…”) one sees the prettiest girls; it floods its plains, it is cold, it is in places murky and in others clear. This river is the central line of Serbia proper, and gives its name to an ethnocultural zone that roughly stretches from the eastern banks of the Great Morava, to the Drina, the Southern Morava and the Danube. Within the zone, there are microregions, localities with specific variations on the general cultural hallmarks of the broader zone.
Part of the intent of this blog is to help educate those people with an interest in folklore or some aspect of Balkan heritage and tradition. It’s interesting how enduring that idea of heritage can be. Continue reading