Wednesday, 19 December 2012


Today is an important day for me and my family - it is our Slava Day, or the day we pay our respects to the patron saint of our ancestors, Saint Nicholas. Slavas are a big thing in Serbia and to me they, perhaps more than anything else in our orthodox tradition, harken back to the old, pagan days. The whole concept centers around getting into the good books of your patron saint by placating him/her with different offerings - mainly in food and drink - and securing health and prosperity for your family.

Apart from this, Slavas are, or should be, about gathering your family and friends in your home, welcoming them and spending time together to show and feel connected and unified in life and celebrations.

For my family - my parents, my brother and me - this used to be a big thing, a very important day that then got extended to two or three days of guests parading through our home, spending time and leaving well fed and merry. It involved complex preparations (a week before was sacrificed to preparing and producing as much food as possible and procuring all that might be necessary on that day - beverages, tableware, that particular locally produced rakija or wine, etc.) and it would leave us exhausted both physically and financially, but my parents wouldn't have it any other way.

It's this typical Serbian propensity for overdoing it that I found most problematic about marking your saints day, but I'm not going to nitpick about that now. Sometimes I wish I'd taken pictures of the lavish spreads that my parents prepared, delicious food and cakes, the taste of which I still remember very well.

Those times are well and truly over. My dad is gone and my brother took over the Slava, but we don't do the big shebang any more.

We carry on but in a smaller circle of only the closest family members. I miss having my friends over because that made the day special for me and my brother while we were younger.

Although we are all acutely aware of loss and missing my dad on this particular day, I want to start changing our attitude a bit this year. I want us to also feel happy and grateful that we are here and able to sit around the table together and enjoy good food and each others' company.

That is important, the sense of togetherness and being a family, albeit incomplete and permanently damaged in a way.
To finish off on a lighter note, here are the pictures of a few cute little fellas that will soon make their way to some little people that i want to make smile for the holidays!

The Gang ;-)
For my niece

For a little kitty cat girl
A special white mouse for a special little guy

A sage owl for a thoughtful and smart boy

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