USA vs Serbia….. Comparing holidays….

13 Apr

I have been to many places and experienced very unique and unforgettable moments. Holidays and traditions are two things that I always find interesting.  I thought it would be worthwhile  to list the majority of holidays that are celebrated in the USA and Serbia.


The United States of America is a country that is broken into 50 states and each has their own laws and implementation of holidays. We don’t have national holidays in which every employee receives mandatory days off. It is only mandatory for federal employees. Each state sets their own holiday schedule based on local customs. They have their own state holidays.


Federal holidays…….

  1. New Year’s Day– Jan 1st…..celebrates start  Gregorian calendar new year
  2. Martin Luther King Jr Day…..3rd Sunday in Jan- Birth of civil rights leader
  3. President’s Day– 3rd Monday in Feb….. combination of Washington and Lincolns birthdays
  4. Memorial Day– Last Monday in May…..honors those killed in our many wars
  5. Independence Day– July 4th….. celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence
  6. Labor Day– First Monday in September…..celebrates the workers and labor movement
  7. Columbus Day– 2nd Monday in Oct….. discoverer of USA… some states celebrate Indians instead
  8. Veterans Day– Nov 11….. honors all veterans and the end of WW1
  9. Thanksgiving– 4th Thur in Nov…..traditionally celebrates thanks for autumn harvest .. turkey dinner
  10. Christmas – December 25th…..celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ

Other informal, traditional or religious holidays celebrated in the USA…..

  1. Epiphany– Jan 6th…..celebrates baptism of Jesus , manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles..etc
  2. Mardi Gras– Feb or March varies……. french for FAT TUESDAY or last chance to eat fat before Lent
  3. Groundhog’s Day– Feb 2nd…..groundhog is released to predict more winter or start of spring
  4. Valentine’s Day– Feb 14th…..celebration of love and romance.
  5. St Patrick’s Day– Mar 17th…..celebration of Irish culture… wearing green and drinking green beer
  6. April Fools’ Day– Apr 1… of playing tricks and pranks
  7. Palm Sunday– Sunday before Easter….. celebrates Jesus entry into Jerusalem.
  8. Good Friday– Fri before Easter…… commemorate crucifixion and death of Jesus
  9. Easter– Sunday after Good Friday…..commemorates the resurrection of Jesus
  10. Earth Day– Apr 22nd…..celebration and recognition of our environment … pick up litter etc
  11. Arbor Day– Last Sun in April….. celebration of our trees.. most people plant trees on this day
  12. May Day– May 1st… US , celebration of Spring and organized labor
  13. Cinco de Mayo– May 5th….. in USA celebration of Mexican culture..  don’t confuse it with Mexican Independence Day, that is on Sept 16th
  14. Mother’s Day– 2nd Sunday in May….. Celebration and appreciation of your mother
  15. Flag Day– June 14th…..commemorates the adoption of the USA flag, in 1777
  16. Father’s Day– 3rd Sun in June…… celebration and appreciation of our father
  17. Women’s Equality Day– Aug 26th….. celebrates adoption of 19th amendment and marks the day of protest in 1970, when women protested nationwide for equality
  18. Patriot Day– Sept 11th…..commemorates the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 01
  19. Constitution Day– Sept 17th….. celebrates the adoption of our constitution
  20. Rosh Hashanah– Sept or Oct varies…… Jewish celebration for beginning of High Holidays and Hebrew calendar new year.
  21. Yom Kippur– Sept or Oct varies…..Jewish celebration … known as “Sabbath of rest”
  22. Halloween– Oct 31….. originally celebrated the end of Celtic year but also eve of All Saint’s Day.. kids dress in costumes and go door to door for candy and snacks .. if they do not receive any.. they do tricks on the homeowner… like take a bar of soap and smear on windows and throw toilet paper in the trees
  23. Election Day– 1st Tuesday in Nov….. observed by federal and state in applicable years… voting
  24. Black Friday– Friday after Thanksgiving…… start of shopping season… the busiest shopping day of the year
  25. Hanukkah– Dec varies….. Jewish holiday commemorates rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century BC
  26. Pearl Harbor Day– Dec 7th……day to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese  Dec 7th, 1941
  27. Immaculate Conception Day– Dec 8th….. commemorates Virgin Mary being kept free from sin…
  28. Christmas Eve– Dec 24th….. night before Christmas… almost every business is closed
  29. Kwanzaa– Dec 26th- Jan 1st…..African American holiday celebration
  30. New Year’s Eve– Dec 31st….. Last day of Gregorian calendar year….


Misc info……

Many states have their own holidays. Here are some interesting observances……

  • California and Ohio celebrate Rosa Parks day… she is the African-American who refused to sit in the back of the bus and led to major civil rights activity and reform
  • Three states celebrate Susan B Anthony Day… she was a prominent figure in the women’s rights movement in the USA.
  • California celebrates Cesar Chavez Day and two others mark it optional… he was a Latino farm hand that was essential in the creation of the National Farm Workers Association and Latino rights activist
  • Only 12 states recognize Good Friday as a state holiday…..
  • Nine states celebrate Confederate Memorial Day…..celebrates the lives of those killed fighting for the confederacy in the Civil War
  • A few southern states celebrate Jefferson Davis Day…. it celebrates the birth of the Confederate States of Americas leader Jefferson Davis
  • In my state of Illinois … we celebrate Casimir Pulaski Day…. he was a heroic, US military, cavalry officer that was born in Poland and helped defeat the British in the Revolutionary War. We celebrate it because of our large Polish community in Chicago
  • Malcom X Day…. celebrated in California


Serbian holidays…….

I have only been in Serbia for 9 months but I have noticed one thing…. SERBS LOVE HOLIDAYS AND CELEBRATIONS!!!! During the winter months, there’s non stop celebrations… I work at many different schools and most of the time I would only have one or two kids show up for class because they would all be attending some kind of holiday celebration……Serbs don’t make a lot of money but you would never guess by looking at the menu!!! They throw everything at you but the kitchen sink!!! My favorite thing about attending many of the feasts was being able to take home some leftovers!!!! 😉 My buddies mom always sends me home with lots of goodies because I growl around and complain because I can’t cook!!! 🙂 hahaha…


Serbian public holidays……

  1. Božić– Jan 7th…..  pronounced (bozhich) this is Serbian Orthodox Christmas… it is celebrated on the 7th of Jan because of the use of the Julian calendar.
  2. Nova GodinaJan 14th….. this is Orthodox New Year
  3. Dan državnosti SrbijeFeb 15th or 16th…… anniversary of the first Serbian uprising in 1804 and the first Serbian constitution in 1835
  4. Veliki petakvaries….. Orthodox Good Friday… commemorates crucifixion of Jesus
  5. VaskrsSunday after Good Friday….. Orthodox Easter celebration of resurrection of Jesus
  6. Vaskrsni ponedeljak– Monday after Easter…… Continuation of Easter celebration
  7. Praznik radaMay 1st….. International Workers Day… celebration of labor
  8. Dan primirja– Nov 11th… Armistice Day…celebrates the end of WW1

Additional holidays.……
Serbia is predominately Orthodox Christian but they have a large minority of Catholic and other Western Christian sects, a smaller Jewish and Muslim minority also…. Here are a list of holidays and observances given to them…..
  1. New Years Day– Jan 1st…. celebration of the beginning of the Julian new year
  2. Good Friday-varies…. commemorates crucifixion of Jesus
  3. Easter– varies…… resurrection of Jesus
  4. Easter Monday-day after Easter- continuation of Easter celebration
  5. Eid ul-Fitr…. Muslim celebration of end of Ramadan
  6. Eid al-Adha… Muslim celebration of “festival of sacrifice”
  7. Yom Kipper…..Jewish holiday.. “sabbath of rest”

Additional working holidays in Serbia……

  1. Sveti Sava– Jan 27th…..St Sava Day… he is known as the Patron Saint of Serbian schools.. all schools are closed on this day.
  2. Don Secanje Na Zrtve Holokausta– Apr 22…..remembrance of those who died in the holocaust, WWII, and through genocide
  3. Dan Pobede/ Dan Evropa– May 9th…. Victory Day or Europe Day..celebrates the defeat of the Germans in 1945 or the signing of the Schuman Declaration  of 1950… which called for an organization of European states.. similar to the E.U
  4. Vidovdan– June 28th…… Saint Vitus Day…..remembrance of the Battle of Kosovo….
  5. Dan Secanje Na Srpske Zrtve– Oct 21…. National WW2 Victims Remembrance Day… day to remember all the thousands of Serbs killed during German occupation

Last but not least…….

That didn’t seem like a lot of holidays did it??? I saved the best for last…. Serbia also celebrates hundreds of Slavas. That is the celebration of the families patron saint. It is called Krsna Slava in Serbian.ImageI have tried to find the total number of saints but have never gotten a concrete answer. Slava is a very important celebration for Serbian Orthodox families. It has many wonderful, unique and traditional foods, songs, methods and decor… Here is a link to a Slava forum that can provide many answers and the ability to converse with those that have the knowledge on the subject!!! experience was written about in a previous blog entry!!! My memories were of lots and lots of awesome food, traditional music, and the  bringing together of family and friends!! It is a must for all of you traveling to Serbia!! There are Slavas all year round but the best are in the Winter time!!!!


Both countries have great holidays and traditions!!!!! We all have more in common than our governments want us to think!!!! I wish I could bring all the Serbian kids to the USA and all the American kids to Serbia!! We would develop a life long love and respect for each others rich and beautiful traditions!!!!

I am not a religious fanatic and have very little knowledge in the details of many of these holidays. Please understand that before you leave me a bad comment because I didn’t fully discuss something! This is a blog not a book and I don’t want to bore people with the tiny details.


Posted by on April 13, 2012 in USA vs Serbia


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9 responses to “USA vs Serbia….. Comparing holidays….

  1. Pete Busarac

    April 14, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Correction. Jan 1st is the New Years celebrated on the Gregorian calendar not the Julian calendar.

  2. Ana

    April 16, 2012 at 6:35 am


    We DO have a lot of hollyday celebrations over the year. Every month (except in March) we have a ”red letter” in calendar and we don’t do almost anything that day, like sewing or any work that requires greater effort, like working in the field. Red letters in the calendar means religious hollydays like Easter, Christmas and days of various Saints (someones Slava).

    Of course, all this has a deep religious meaning, and it can’t be understood without more discussion.

    One thing that bothers me about my people is that some Serbs, most of them, look at our tradition, religion more as an obligation, like routine work They are not familiar with ”rooles and regulations”. That is why sometimes you are badly informed…

  3. Igor The Serb

    April 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Happy Easter Charles! You forgot to mention Djurdjica, Children’s day

  4. PK

    January 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you for all your information provided. I just recently made a Serbian friend and am trying to learn all I can.

    • cather76

      January 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      thank you for reading.. my pleasure..

      • dilan

        August 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm

        Words for “Merry Christmas” that you put in the picture, are not Serbian! You should change it to “Srećan Božić” instead of “Srečen Božič”. Your promotion efforts should be supported by Tourist Organization of Serbia.

  5. Pure garcinia cambogia review

    June 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm

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  6. Leah D.

    April 14, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Thank you for this nice blog! I habe been trying to find a Serbian holiday – without luck. I work here in Germany and have a young boy who told me they celebrate Domje Domje – but couldn’t spell it, so I don’t know how it is spelled. He said it is a holiday with candles and bread and sounds similar to many holidays. Who knows what holiday this could be? Sorry, I have no idea how to spell the words, but it was something like Doma Doma or Domje Domje ?

    Thanks in advance! Leah, an American living in German

  7. Klemen

    December 1, 2014 at 9:19 am

    The picture that says Srečen božič… it’s written in slovenian not in serbian.


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