Montenegro is a sovereign state is southeastern Europe bordered by Croatia and Bosnia. Many of the country’s official public holidays are based on traditional orthodox traditions.
In Montenegro, Christmas Eve is on the 6th of January and Christmas Day is on the 7th of January because the main Orthodox Churches still use the old “Julian” calendar. In the Orthodox Church, Advent starts on the 28th of November and it lasts for six weeks.
Christmas Eve is called “Badnji dan” during the day and “Badnje vece” after sunset. It’s a time where families prepare for Christmas. Many don’t eat food that comes from animals on Christmas Eve.
On the morning of Christmas Eve, it was traditional for men to go out into the woods and cut a Christmas log called a “Badnjak”, normally from an oak tree but because people now live in towns and cities they can buy it in the market.
Outside churches, there are often large bonfires where people gather in the early evening on Christmas Eve. There are sometimes nativity and Christmas plays celebrated either outside or inside the churches.
By Nayara Mendoza