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Serbia’s royal family celebrates orthodox Christmas

Royal Palace Belgrade

Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia celebrated this year’s Orthodox Christmas at the Royal Palace in Dedinje. They were joined by other family members of the Serbian Royal Family. Besides the members of the Serbian Royal Family, also present were the members of the Crown Council, members of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander’s Foundation for Culture and Education, members of Kingdom of Serbia Association, and many other friends of the Royal Family.

On Christmas morning, Crown Prince Alexander cut the Christmas log, and the evening was marked by the traditional burning of the Yule log in front of the Royal Palace. The burning of the Yule log was followed by a traditional reception for all present at the Royal Palace.

Crown Prince Alexander with the Christmas log. Photo: Royal Palace Belgrade.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Alexander also issued a statement on the occasion. Crown Prince Alexander said: “On the occasion of celebrating the birth of Christ, I send congratulations to all citizens of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, wishing them to spend Christmas in peace and love, surrounded by goodwill. This year, too, we welcome Christmas with faith, hope and love. My family and I wish you to spend this great holiday in peace and joy. Peace of Earth, Christ is born!“

The Royal Palace in Dedinje is also called “Kraljevski dvor”. The Palace is the official residence of the Karađorđević Royal Family, built between 1924 and 1929 by order of King Alexander I. Today, the palace is home to Crown Prince Alexander, Crown Princess Katherine and Alexander’s three sons and one grandson.

In Serbia, the main church is the Orthodox Church, and they still use the old ‘Julian’ Calendar, which means that Christmas Eve is on 6 January and Christmas Day on 7 January. Advent in the Orthodox Church starts on 28th November and lasts for six weeks, not four.

People in Serbia also celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day but on 19 December. The Serbian Royal Family was banned from entering any Yugoslav country during the Soviet occupation. The anti-monarchy communist government did not approve of the old Christmas celebration. They banned it and started their own version called Grandfather Frost. Traditional Serbian customs have also mixed with western customs. For example, people also have Christmas trees, but they are decorated on New Year’s Eve.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.