News 15 Dec 16

Belgrade Prepares for New Year’s Celebrations

As 2017 approaches, the City of Belgrade’s plans for welcoming the New Year range from open-air skate rinks and concerts to the now-traditional Santa race through the capital.

Ivana Nikolic
Belgrade streets are already shining. Photo: BIRN/Ivana Nikolic.

Under the name “Belgrade Winter” or Beogradska Zima, a month-long New Year’s party officially kicks off on December 15 and ends on January 15, with some events extending well into February, the Tourist Organisation of Belgrade, TOB, recently announced.

Some events have already started, like the “Open Heart Square,” a Christmas fair, which opened on December 1 and will run through February 1st. Republic Square is now covered with mini wooden houses selling various holiday souvenirs, jewellery, ornaments, toys, food and beverage as well as sweets.

Every Saturday and Sunday throughout December, the Children’s Cultural Centre will perform theatre plays and various other programmes for the youngest Belgraders.

Organisers have also announced the sale of New Year’s cups with all the revenue going to charity.

If you are in Belgrade over the holidays, don’t miss the traditional breaking of cesnica, a homemade loaf with a coin baked inside, which will take place at the 'Open Heart Square' on Orthodox Christmas, January 7.  And don’t skip the celebration of the Orthodox (or Serbian) New Year on January 13, happening in front of the Old Palace building in central Belgrade.

Ice@Tas at Tasmajdan

A Winter Festival called 'Ice@Tas' runs from December 15 to February 15, 2017, and promises fun for ice-skating enthusiasts. Ice-skating at the Tasmajdan sports centre will be free during certain skating sessions. There will also be a music programme every day along with shows for kids, including magicians.

Every Friday there will be “Retro Party Night“ with themes from 1970s and 1980s. The organisers also announced a so-called musical castle at the Tasmajdan Park.

Fairytales square

This kids-oriented show kicks off on December 15 and ends on January 15, 2017. It will take place at the plateau in front of the Cultural Institution Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic at Bulevar Kralja Aleksandra 77a St. The House of Fairytales offers children the opportunity to see and hear Serbian national fairytales as well as famous fables written by the Brothers Grimm. The spot will also host a small puppet theatre as well as stands featuring classic Serbian craftworks.

Nikola Pasic open-air skating 

In one of the city’s longest running New Year’s events, a traditional skating rink opens on December 15 and runs until February 1. The rink is open every day and will offer many other things such as sport events, concerts and DJs.

Sava river promenade

One of the most beloved river banks in Belgrade will host a bunch of New Year’s-related events from December 16 till February 15 aimed at adults and children, including concerts, humanitarian actions, fireworks, various competitions and distribution of Christmas gifts.

Kids' New Year

This free event runs from December 16-30 at the Belgrade Fair. It includes as many as 39 different programmes including 11 theatre plays, 18 musicals, and eight so-called Gala New Year’s programmes with famous actors, hosts, singers, choirs, ballet troops and orchestras.

Santa race

Belgrade’s ninth traditional race of Santa Clauses takes place on December 25 in downtown Belgrade. According to organisers, there will be a total of 3,000 Santas running or simply walking down Kralja Milana Street. Under the slogan “Santa Clauses Bestow Lives” there will also be voluntary blood donation.

New Year's eve

The main celebration ringing in 2017 will take place on December 30-31 in front of the National Parliament, also the site of the entire “Belgrade Winter” manifestation. On December 30 you can expect the famed Yugoslav rock band Bijelo Dugme to perform along with folk star Aca Lukas, while on the last evening of 2016 there rock bands Bajaga i Instruktori and Plavi Orkestar will perform.

'Open Heart Sqaure'

Traditionally, this humanitarian event is aimed at the youngest citizens. It will take place on January 1 and turn Svetogorska Street all the way down to Strahinjica Bana Street into an open air carnival for parents and children. Apart from the centre of Belgrade, 'Open Heart Street' will also be present at several other municipalities: Cukarica, Rakovica, Surcin, Mladenovac, Obrenovac and Savski Venac.

This article was published in BIRN's bi-weekly newspaper Belgrade Insight. Here is where to find a copy.

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