Slava – Celebration of Family Saint Patron’s Day


Commemorative postage stamps

Year of issue: 2019

In stock


Slava, celebration of family saint patron’s day, represents a ritual dedicated to a certain Christian saint who is believed to be a family’s patron saint and the giver of welfare. Celebrating a patron saint is practiced by a majority of Orthodox Christian families on the territory of Serbia as a significant family holiday with the participation of individual families and their guests – members of wider kinship, neighbours, friends. The Serbs experience patron saint’s day as a way of expressing national identity and they are the bearers of this tradition, but the celebration of a family patron saint are also practiced by Orthodox Christian families of some other ethnic communities in Serbia.

In the home of a family, on patron saint’s day a candle is lit during the performing of the ritual, The Lord’s Prayer is said and a ritual cutting of the Slava cake is performed – which necessarily has an impressed symbol IС ХС НI KA – in a way that it is overflowed with wine, cut in the shape of the cross, then it is turned, lifted up and broken in four parts. During the ritual the words of gratitude and prayers for welfare are said to the patron saint. Ritual cutting of the cake is performed by all the members of the family at their home, but on the other hand, it is a common practice to take the Slava cake to church, and in some cases a family welcomes their priest at home to cut the cake. An important part of the celebration of a patron saint is a feast which gathers together the whole family and their cousins and friends.

Patron saint’s day is a vital element of our intangible cultural heritage and in 2014 it was entered on UNESCO Representative list of Intangible cultural heritage of the humankind. St. Sava – Savindan, dedicated to the first Serbian Archbishop and Serbian educator, is celebrated on January 27th. It is one of the largest family holidays among Serbs. It has been proclaimed a school Slava, but is also celebrated by many artisans.

Motif on stamp: St. Sava, (icon, 2016, art-work of sorority of St. Nicholas monastery – Končul) from the St. Sava temple on the Vračar plateau. Motif on FDC: candlestick, letter–mold for Slava cake and cresset (exhibits of Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade, photographs by author Ivana Masniković Antić MA), icon of St. Sava.

Expert collaboration: Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade.

Graphic realization of the issue: Nadežda Skočajić, MA graphic artist.


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