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News 12 Jan 15

Serbian New Year: Another Reason to Celebrate

If you come across posters promoting something called “Serbian New Year” well after December 31, don’t be surprised. Thanks to our church calendar, mid-January is celebration time for Serbs.

Ivana Nikolic, David Galic


If you are a party animal and just can’t get enough of New Year’s Eve celebrations, should prolong your stay in Serbia, which has another New Year’s Eve on January 13.

No, Serbs are not addicted to having two “wildest nights of the year” in one month. The second celebration is a consequence of the fact that the Serbian Orthodox Church still sticks to the old, Julian calendar.

The most widely used calendar in the world, the Gregorian calendar, is actually a perfection of the Julian one, with a 0.002 per cent correction in the length of the year.

Serbia, as well as some other Ortho- dox countries, such as Russia, long ago switched to the Gregorian calendar for ordinary matters, but their Orthodox Churches continue to use the Julian one, which is why the second New Year falls between January 13-14.

Apart from the Balkan countries and Russia, this “second” New Year is observed in Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan. It also lives on, after a fashion, in Wales (as “Hen Galan”), in Gaelic parts of Scotland and Switzerland as the “alter Silvester”, or “Old New Year”.

Serbs have given it more of a national touch, labelling it Serbian New Year, which is why squares, cafes and restaurants in the country will be packed with fun-seekers on the night of January 13, while many famous singers will hit stages around the capital, performing well into the night.

One of the biggest events will take place in front of the Church of St Sava in the neighbourhood of Vracar. Here there will be a fantastic firework display once the clock strikes midnight.


Address: Karađorđeva 46

Price: €8

Contact: 011-262-6068

Serbian New Year’s usually involves a lot of folk and pop music, but it doesn’t have to. If you want some good old-fashioned hard rock, then head over to Mikser House. Headlining will be classic Croatian rock group Atomsko Skloniste, who were stalwarts on the YU-rock scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Supporting them will be Tex- as Flood, who are probably the best blues-rock group in Belgrade. There will also be a multimedia exhibition detailing the history of Atomsko Skloniste at Mikser House on the night, which fans of the band should not miss.


Address: Kej oslobođenja bb

Price: €35

Contact: 063-10-67-0407

A lot of people say that the Zemun Quay is the best place to celebrate the Serbian New Year. Splav Amsterdam is one of the most popular clubs in that part of the city, and should be a good place to test that theory. There will be a band playing Serbian pop and folk, Nemanja Radonjic, Jasmina Milanov and the L.A. Band. A ticket and reservation guarantees unlimited drinks at the open bar and some finger food as well.


Address: Makedonska 22

Price: Free

Contact: 011-3220-127

It might not be a traditional ‘Serbian’ New Year’s party, but it is happening on that date. Dom Omladine will be hosting the KULT festival, which will last a couple of nights and include a lot of great music spanning just about every genre you can think of. There will be classical music performances, jazz, funk provided by L8 Night and Lorna Wing, reggae by Aman Zaman, rock will be represented by Loud, Freaky Fight 4 Freedom, two metal bands, and a bunch of dubstep and drum’n’bass DJ teams. Definitely worth investigating if you want to go out and try something non- orthodox that night.


Address: Mitropolita Petra 8

Price: €11

Contact: 066-222-152

Johnnie Walker Party is another Serbian New Year option where you can spend dance the night away on January 13. Frontman Band will be playing Serbian traditional ‘kafana’ music, but there will also be DJ Philips Blue and DJ Velvet playing some of the most popular house music hits. The organisers have promised some nice gifts – but only for women. There will be no food offered, but when it comes to drinks, the price is all inclusive, so you can choose what to drink from a vast variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.


Address: Nemanjina 4

Price: around €10

Contact: 066-222-153

House music enthusiasts might choose to head to the well-known club located

on the 9th floor of a building in Nemanjina Street, which is especially famous for its cocktails. There is no food offered but when it comes to drinking, you might actually be able to drink the price of the entrance fee, just under €10. Keep in mind that you should definitely book your place as this place is always packed.


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