Not Fan of Valentines? Welcome to Serbia!
Author: Ivana Nikolić
Valentine’s Day is on the horizon. Suddenly everyone seems to become romantic in some cheap, commercial way (Sounds strange to hear the word romantic together with cheap and commercial in one sentence? Blame it on Valentines of our age!).
Are you tired of all those candy, fluffy and all in all plastic hearts? Annoyed with cheesy overuse of the word love in shallow quotes written on tones of decorations in cafes, stores and even bookshops? Do you hate that pressure to spend February the 14th the way consumer society wants you to? Are you disgusted how everyone seems to measure success in love with their relationship status on Valentine’s and compete who’s gonna be more “wannabe romantic” in that so not essential and so not the classy way?
If you answered yes to at least one of these questions – don’t worry! You don’t have to hide at home for Valentine’s. We have a better suggestion for you You may pack your bags and visit Serbia on that day! Why? Simply because the majority of people in Serbia celebrate St. Trifun on February the 14th and don’t care for Valentine’s Day.
But who’s St. Trifun? Why would you celebrate anything on that day? Will you start to miss all those love hearts if you travel to Serbia for Valentine’s? Well, let’s start from the beginning and by the end of this text, you’ll know why you’re going to love spending Valentine’s or should we say St. Trifun’s Day in Serbia.
FEW REASONS YOU MIGHT PREFER SPENDING FEBRUARY 14th IN SERBIA
- Freedom of choice! Oh so refreshing!
All that Valentine’s Day iconography came to Serbia as well. Yeah, people there are also not immune to globalization and “commercial holidays”. And yeah, you’re going to see some couples doing all that Valentine’s stuff as well as love hearts and cheesy decorations in restaurants, shops, cafes and other places in Serbia too.
So what’s the difference? First of all, no one will cry if they’re single or otherwise alone on Valentine’s in Serbia, except for a few teenagers who watch movies too much and those who pity themselves whether it’s a holiday or not. Second, no one will judge or feel sorry for you if you don’t have a date or don’t celebrate Valentine’s for any reason.
It’s up to you what you’ll do on that day and no one really cares (in a good way, of course). In other words, if you go to Serbia you may spend February the 14th like any other ordinary day or just enjoy exploring the country or celebrating Saint Trifun or even make up your mind and go for Valentine’s celebration. Whatever suits you the most.
- Saint Trifun Day celebration… Actually different kinds of celebration!
Saint Trifun (Tryphon) is celebrated in all Christian churches, just on different days. Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates this saint on February the 14th as you most likely already learnt from this article. He lived in the 3rd century in Campsada in Phrygia (nowadays in Turkey) and was known for his healing gift and especially as the animal healer. He was heavily tortured and then beheaded for converting Roman prefect Licius to Christianity.
In Serbia, St. Trifun is celebrated by vine growers as the protector of vine and wine. If you like tasting and drinking wine, you’ll surely enjoy this celebration. You may find numerous wine festivals as well as celebrations and degustation in wineries, restaurants and bars all across Serbia. It’s really a festivity for the soul and all the senses.
On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to meet the local who celebrates Saint Trifun as their Patron Saint Day, you may discover the beauty of Serbian “slava” as well. Slava is the Serbian word for Patron Saint Day celebration which is unique for Serbia. Only Serbian Orthodox Christians celebrate Saints who are considered their family protectors.
There are different ways how a family chooses or gets their Patron Saint, but they are usually celebrated for generations and very few know when and why their family started to celebrate one particular Saint. If you happen to be invited to slava for Saint Trifun’s Day, just bring wine, flowers or some other nice present for your hosts and enjoy the traditional food, drink, music and a great time with friends.
If you want to experience the whole celebration, you might even go to church in the morning and attend the liturgy (Orthodox Mass). Any kind of Saint Trifun’s Day celebration is a great way to explore the local tradition and have a great time! That’s for sure.
- Like-minded people… You might find quite a few!
Whether you come across Serbian Orthodox people, who are the majority in Serbia, or Serbian citizens of any other nationality, ethnicity or confession – you will most likely find like-minded crew easily when it comes to modern Valentine’s celebration.
Many people in Serbia believe that Valentine’s Day is way too commercialized and exaggerated around the globe. They believe it’s not genuine to celebrate the love that way. Catholics in Serbia are not the exception and the majority of them prefer to celebrate Valentine’s or Valentinovo as it’s called in Croatia and Serbia in a much more modest and profound way. They usually follow local traditions which are far away from too many love hearts and pressure that it has to be celebrated in a “Valentines kind of romantic” way.
Even if you are very grumpy about Valentine’s celebration of our age, you’ll probably find just enough like-minded folks to exchange your juicy remarks on it. People in Serbia like to express their feelings like all the Southern Europeans, so you won’t be judged if you growl too much. You’ll probably end up making jokes and laughing it all out together.
- Local holiday vibe… For two or more days!
If your visit to Serbia doesn’t end on February 14th, you might enjoy the holiday vibe even more on Serbian Statehood Day. On February 15th when it’s celebrated there are many festivities and cultural events all across the country and you may see and experience local traditions and history in different ways.
Serbia has a very exciting and rich history and you may see many historical places any time of the year, but for Statehood Day don’t be surprised if you see actors in historical costumes and find interesting events organized only on that day.
One of the most famous is arranged every year at Oplenac and Topola, places which are also known for the royal villas, vineyards, tombs and churches of the Serbian royal family Karađorđević (Karageorgevich). You might also enjoy visiting royal courts in Belgrade.
When it comes to Serbian Statehood Day, just keep in mind that shops and many institutions are closed on that holiday. On the other hand, in most Serbian cities there are always few shops that still work on public holidays and if you’re in the countryside… Well, you might go shopping in the nearest city or town. If you wish to visit museums and other similar institutions, just make sure to check which ones are open during Statehood Day.
- Romantic is OK when it’s your way
Serbia is the perfect choice even If you actually want to share romantic moments with your precious one or simply enjoy romantic sceneries and vibe, but still prefer to avoid Valentine’s pressure and iconography. You will be able to avoid all that easily in Serbia and create genuine romantic memories with your significant other.
On top of everything, you might discover beautiful traditions, exciting history, breathtaking nature, awesome nightlife and local lifestyle in Serbia, a country that is yet to be discovered even by many passionate travellers. There are many tourists who visit Serbia, but it is still not so known to many and hidden jewels are sometimes the most precious ones.
Serbia is the land where many Roman emperors were born (more only in nowadays Italy!). It is the land with medieval Orthodox monasteries and churches under the protection of UNESCO and many natural wonders. Nikola Tesla, Mihajlo Pupin, Emir Kusturica, Novak Đoković, Vlade Divac, Mila Jovovich and many other extraordinary people were and are Serbian.
Learning more about Serbia and experiencing life there can make your romantic journey truly memorable. Beautiful settings and vibes and travelling together are often more romantic than all the heart-shaped candles, candies and toys of this world, which by the way, you probably dislike in the first place.
Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t read this article which hopefully gave you many reasons to spend February the 14th and a few days more in Serbia. If you’re single, you might also enjoy romantic parks, restaurants and many other wonderful places and who knows – maybe you’ll even find true love in Serbia! Then you’ll be able to skip typical Valentine’s Day celebrations and celebrate your anniversaries in Serbia for years. Whatever is your Valentine’s and personal story, the odds are you’re going to enjoy if you choose to spend February 14th in Serbia.