Paint a picture #1: Badnjak in Bar, Montenegro

Christmas eve in Bar, Montenegro. As soon as we crossed the border from Bulgaria to Serbia, we discovered that Christmas eve is two weeks later than the rest of Europe. Serbia and Montenegro have a Greek Orthodox religion, which we did not know. But what an awesome surprise. Another Christmas Eve! As big Christmas fans, another Christmas Eve is an awesome gift. It kept us busy all that week. What are we going to do and especially WHERE will we be, since we were traveling without any plan? We ended up being on Christmas Eve in Bar. A city in the south of Montenegro.

During the day, we saw men collecting wood from oak trees. We thought its meant to keep themselves and families warm, to make a fire in their house. Later that evening we discovered that it was for a tradition on Christmas Eve: When Christmas Eve starts families come to the church to burn all the wood (which is called ‘Badnjak’) they collected and make a big bonfire in front of the church, all evening and night. All families from Bar came together to put their Badnjak into the bonfire, Christmas music was playing in the church and there was a little market where Adam and I decided to buy each other a Christmas present. It was awesome to witness this tradition up close.

 

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