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News 13 Jan 14

What is ‘Serbian New Year’?

An error in the calendar that the church still sticks to when calculating its festive days gave Serbia two New Years, turning January into a month of celebration.

Nemanja Cabric, David Galic
BIRN
Belgrade

As in most countries with majority Orthodox Christian populations, Serbs have two New Years. The first one falls between December 31 and January 1, as calculated by the Gregorian calendar. This calendar, the most widely used civil calendar since 1582, is in fact a perfection of the Julian calendar with a 0.002 per cent correction in the length of the year.

After Soviet Russia adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1918, the Russian Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian calendar, a tradition upheld by churches in other Orthodox countries that also adopted new calendar for general use.

Most of them still calculate its important dates using the old, incorrect calendar, so the second New Year falls on the date between January 13and 14.

It is informally celebrated as a holiday among the Orthodox population in the Balkans as well as in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan, but also in other countries such as Wales (as Hen Galan), Scotland (in Gaelic events) and Switzerland (as alter Silvester).

In most of these countries it is called Old New Year, but Serbs have given a national touch to the occasion, referring to it instead as Serbian New Year.

In the Balkans, any occasion deserves a celebration, and many people enjoy bringing in the New Year in the exact same manner each year – with a concert in front of the parliament or on the main square, fireworks in front of the Temple of Saint Sava in Belgrade and in front of churches in other cities. Restaurants, clubs and cafes are booked up and offer live performances, food and drinks as the party continues into the night.

Splav River

A rule of thumb is that the best Serbian New Year’s Eve parties are on the river. This year seems to be the same, with a few hot parties being planned on the Sava and Danube. For Serbian New Year, it’s harder to find big events with foreign music, but it works in your favor if you are a fan of Serbian traditional and pop music. River is one of the most prestigious splavs in Belgrade and always hosts huge parties, this one being no different. Guests will be entertained by Marina Tadić, one of the most sought-after club singers when it comes to Serbian music in the entire city. When she and her band are taking breaks, DJ Viiper and DJ Ice will be keeping the atmosphere festive.

Address: Brodarska bb

Price: €1

Opposite

Club Opposite will feature more traditional Serbian music and classic folk numbers that everyone and their grandmother knows. Frontman Band will be taking over the duties of playing all of these hits, and while they are taking breaks, DJ Totti and DJ Alex Candy will keep the party going with commercial house music between sets. If you didn’t send too much money on the first New Year’s Party and want to get a VIP table at Opposite, free cocktails for the whole night are included in the price.

Address: Mitropolita Petra 8

Price: €11

Splav Blaywatch

Blaywatch has a similar demographic as River, and it’s only natural that their party offering will be somewhat similar. Live Serbian music will be on the bill here as well, with singer Milena Ćeranić singing new and old Serbian pop and folk favourites and a DJ trio of DJ Mare, DJ Totti and DJ Mimi filling in the gaps. The ticket price includes free domestic drinks, but if you want to reserve a table or a booth, you are going to have to stump up from €15 to €120 more.

Address: Brodarska bb

Price: €13

Klub Fabrika

There won’t be a live band playing at Fabrika for Serbian New Year, but you’ll still get to hear all of the best dance and pop songs both Serbia and abroad thanks to the DJ team of Fabricio and Marko. For those looking for the riverside vibe without having to go down to the river in the cold, Fabrika is the winter version of popular splav Freestyler. Fabrika puts a little twist into their program with a traditional brass band entering the club and playing for the crowd at midnight. All-inclusive ticket prices include free domestic drinks, but if you have a group of seven or eight, you can spring for a 100€ booth and get a couple of bottles of champagne as well.

Address: Despota Stefana 115

Price: €11

WITCH1

If you are looking for something completely different, head over to Kuglaš to see WITCH1 perform. This is a rock and biker culture club and WITCH1 are one of the most popular bands in the city if you are looking for energetic live renditions of your favorite hard rock and heavy metal hits. It might not be a traditional Serbian type of night out, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a fun way to ring in the traditional Serbian New Year.

Address: Đušina 5

Price: €2

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