It’s the morning of the 8th January 2016 and I am crashed on the couch in the living room of Tamara’s parents place in central Banja Luka.
Late last year (2015), my online friend Roger Overall asked what I MISSED about British Christmases and what I LIKED about Christmas in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I recorded a vlog about the MISSING.
This post is about the LIKES.
First, a little explanation for those who have no idea about the country I live in.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is populated (in the main) by 3 ethnic groupings:
Serbs (Orthodox Christians).
Croats (Roman Catholics).
As far as Christmases are concerned, the Croats celebrate on 25 December and the Serbs on 7 January.
My “second” Christmas therefore, is an Orthodox celebration. Srpski Bozić.
My personal LIKES then (not in order of preference):
1. “Roast Pork” – Balkan Style.
The traditional “Baking” of either pig or lamb is something to enjoy watching (especially with a glass of rakija).
Once cut up into medium size pieces, the meat is served and eaten cold.
Totally different to British warm pork with apple sauce.
Badnjak is the equivalent to the Christmas Tree or Yule log.
It is an oak branch that is placed in front of the house or put on the meal table.
3. “Breaking Christmas Bread”
Christmas bread is home baked unleavened bread decorated with either religious or other symbols. It’s only baked at this time of year.
The tradition is to have money in your pockets while you make it (to bring good luck) and also to put a coin inside for luck to the person who finds the coin.
4. Copious amounts of food!
Balkan hospitality, within and without the family environment, is (in my option) second to none.
Cicvara – a sort of cornmeal dish similar to polenta.
Soup – nice clear chicken soup.
Sarma – Spicy, tasty, pickled cabbage rolls (stuffed with pork and beef).
Chicken and Pork.
Side dishes of pickled bell peppers, cucumbers, Russian salad, bread.
Various home made cakes including Baklava!
So there you have it!
What I like about Christmas in Bosnia and Herzegovina.