May 6 – Đurđevdan

Posted May 6, 2015

Đurđevdan translates to "George's Day"—as in St. George.

As in the guy on a horse killing a dragon!

St. George is considered the patron saint of England, and that is why his feast day is still celebrated there every April 23. That is the traditionally accepted anniversary of his death in 303 C.E. (or A.D.).

However, St. George's feast day was April 23 on the Julian calendar. That translates to May 6 on the Gregorian calendar (which is the one we use nowadays).

Even though the people of Southern Slavic nations use the Gregorian calendar for most purposes, Eastern Orthodox Christianity generally still uses the Julian calendar for feast days and other religious holidays. So nations like Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo celebrate the feast day today. (I think. Honestly, I found all of this stuff about April 23 and May 6 quite confusing!)

A Southern Slavic version
of St. George killing a dragon.

Đurđevdan marks the beginning of spring, and some of the spring celebrations enjoyed in other nations on other days take place today in Southern Slavic nations. That includes having bonfires and decorating the home with flowers and blooming twigs, taking baths with flowers and washing with water from holy wells. Another slavic tradition is choosing girls to dress in leaves and play the part of Dodola goddesses by singing all through the village.

Even though this holiday has its basis in Christian traditions, with a Catholic saint and feast day, the connection with springtime celebrations, particularly the Dodola goddesses, comes from pagan traditions. In some areas, such as Bosnia and Kosovo, many Muslim people also celebrated Đurđevdan, at least in the past.

More about South Slavs...

In the past, just as in the present, people moved about trying to find resources and land; as they spread out and moved away from former neighbors, their languages and customs began to diverge as they evolved.

There are many nations that are settled by mostly “Slavic peoples,” largely defined by their Slavic languages. The South Slavs include the majority of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, and a sizable minority in the Republic of Kosovo (a disputed nation).

Notice that the Southern Slavic nations, shown above in green, are cut off from the other Slavic nations by non-Slavic countries like Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Moldova.

Check out these flags and photos for each of the Southern Slavic nation:

Bosnia and Herzegovina:








Also on this date:

Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4 - 8)

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