Easter in Serbia: Revealing the Diglossic Holiday

Easter in Serbia: the Diglossic Holiday

by Magdalena Petrović Jelić

Easter in Serbia: Revealing the Diglossic Holiday 1

Easter in Serbia is a very fun experience. We boil and color eggs, usually on Good Friday. There are traditional methods, involving plants, wax and onion peels, and then there are the modern dyes and stickers. We use different methods because the Easter eggs in Serbia must be multicolored.

Watch this video about how we color eggs for Easter in Serbia. It’s in Serbian, so don’t forget to turn on the English captions, if you need.

The first red egg is the “čuvarkuća” (house guard). We put it on a shelve to guards our home until the next Easter, when it’s replaced. Then on Easter, we use the colored eggs in a jolly competition: We crack them, and the strongest egg wins!  

There is also a special greeting we use on Easter only, and it’s similar to the Christmas greeting. But the Easter greeting is a bit controversial. And I bet you’ve been unsure how to say it correctly.

I wrote about why we have this linguistic vacillation in my article that was first published in the “American Srbobran” on April 3, 2019. Here I’m sharing it with you entirely:    

 

The Diglossic Easter in Serbia

[I recommend reading on a big screen for comparing the two languages in two columns. On mobile, scroll down for Serbian.]

There are two words that people in Serbia use to refer to Easter: Uskrs and Vaskrs. There are two forms of the verb to resurrect as well: uskrsnuti and vaskrsnuti. To make it more complex, the official terms of our church are Voskresenije and voskresnuti.

All these forms reflect the diglossia that Serbs have had for centuries. On one side we have the vernacular Serbian, with oral tradition and folk literature. On the other side we have Old Church Slavonic, as the first literary and liturgical Slavic language, with written tradition. It had different recensions, created as the writers incorporated elements of their vernacular into it. The Serbian Church had used Serbian recension of Church Slavonic (Serbo-Slavonic) ever since the Serbs took Slavic literacy in the 10th century.

In the second half of the 18th century, when the Serbs fled from the Ottomans and settled in Vojvodina, the Russian influence became strong. As Russian books were used by the Serbs in Austro-Hungarian Empire, Serbo-Slavonic was replaced by the Russian recension of Church Slavonic (Russo-Slavonic).

That’s how a new language came into use: Slavonic-Serbian. It was a mixture of Russo-Slavonic with Serbian vernacular. This sublime language came out of use in the Romantic era, as the vernacular language became official and the writing system was reformed. However, Russo-Slavonic remains to this day the official language of our church.

For this reason we have the vernacular expressions Uskrs and uskrsnuti that belong to the modern standard, as well as Serbo-Slavonic Vaksrs and vaskrsnuti, that is used among the people, and Russo-Slavonic Voskresenije and voskresnuti, that is used by our church.

The Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates Easter on April 28th this year. On this day we crack eggs we colored on Good Friday and greet each other with a special greeting that celebrates the dogma of resurrection: „Christ is risen!” And answer: „Truly he is risen!“

There is the Serbo-Slavonic variant of this greeting: „Hristos vaskrse“ – „Vaistinu vaskrse“.

And there is the Russo-Slavonic variant of it: „Hristos voskrese“ – „Vaistinu voskrese“.

The modern Serbian form of this greeting would be: „Hrist uskrsnu“ – „Zaista uskrsnu“; but it’s never used.

Since the common people are not familiar with the church language, you’ll hear other irregular variants of the greeting: „Hristos vaskrs“; „Hristos vaskrese“, „Hristos voskrse“.

So, how to greet your family on Easter in Serbia? Here’s my advice: if you are the first to greet, choose one of the correct forms „Hristos vaskrse“ or „Hristos voskrese“ and add: „Happy Easter!“ But if you are answering, choose the same form the other person used and be polite, even if that means using the wrong form: „Vaistinu vaskrs“, „Vaistinu vaksrese“, „Vaistinu voskrese“.

Let’s spread love and respect, rather than the linguistic correctness, on this great day that is in some places in Serbia still called Veligdan (The Great Day).

Dve su reči koje ljudi u Srbiji koriste za ovaj praznik: Uskrs i Vaskrs. Takođe imamo i dva glagola: uskrsnuti i vaskrsnuti. Da stvar bude još složenija, zvanični termini naše crkve su Voskresenije i voskresnuti.

Svi ovi oblici odražavaju diglosiju koju Srbi vekovima imaju. S jedne strane imamo narodni srpski jezik, sa usmenom tradicijom i narodnom književnošću. S druge strane imamo staroslovenski, kao prvi književni i liturgijski jezik, sa pisanom tradicijom. Taj jezik je imao različite recenzije, nastale tako što su pisci u njega ugrađivali elemente svog narodnog jezika. Srpska crkva je koristila srpsku recenziju staroslovenskog (srpskoslovenski) otkako su Srbi primili slovensku pismenost u 10. veku.

 

U drugoj polovini 18. veka, kada su Srbi pobegli od Osmanlija i naselili se u Vojvodini, Ruski uticaj je ojačao. Kako su Srbi u Austrougarskom carstvu koristili ruske knjige, srpskoslovenski je zamenila ruska recenzija staroslovenskog (ruskoslovenski).

Tako je jedan novi jezik došao u upotrebu: slavjanoserpski. To je bila mešavina ruskoslovenskog sa srpskim narodnim jezikom. Ovaj uzvišeni jezik je izašao iz upotrebe u eposi romantizma, kada je narodni jezik postao zvanični, a pravopis reformisan. Međutim, ruskoslovenski je do danas ostao zvanični jezik naše crkve.

Zbog toga imamo narodne izraze Uskrs i uskrsnuti, koji pripadaju modernom standardu, kao i srpskoslovensko Vaksrs i vaskrsnuti, koje se koristi u narodu, i ruskoslovensko Voskresenije i voskresnuti, koje koristi naša crkva.

 

Srpska pravoslavna crkva ove godine slavi Uskrs 28. aprila. Na taj dan lupamo jaja koja smo obojili na Veliki petak i pozdravljamo se naročitim pozdravom koji proslavlja dogmu uskrsnuća.

Postoji srpskoslovenska varijanta ovog pozdrava: „Hristos vaskrse“ – „Vaistinu vaskrse“.

A postoji i njegova ruskoslovenska varijanta „Hristos voskrese“ – „Vaistinu voskrese“.

Na savremenom srpskom jeziku, ovaj pozdrav bi glasio: „Hrist uskrsnu“ – „Zaista uskrsnu“; ali to se nikad ne koristi.

Pošto narod ne poznaje crkveni jezik, čućete i druge nepravilne varijante ovog pozdrava: „Hristos vaskrs“; „Hristos vaskrese“, „Hristos voskrse“.

Dakle, kako ćete pozdraviti svoju porodicu na Uskrs u Srbiji? Evo mog saveta: ako pozdravljate prvi, izaberite jednu od dve ispravne forme „Hristos vaskrse“ or „Hristos voskrese“ i dodajte: „Srećan Uskrs!“ Ali ako odgovarate, izaberite istu formu koju je druga osoba upotrebila i budite ljubazni, i ako to znači da ćete upotrebiti nepravilan oblik: „Vaistinu vaskrs“, „Vaistinu vaksrese“, „Vaistinu voskrese“.

Hajde da širimo ljubav i poštovanje, pre nego jezičku ispravnost, na ovaj veliki dan, koji se ponegde u Srbiji još naziva i Veligdan.

Why We Celebrate Christmases and New Year Twice in Serbia

Why Christmas and New Year are Celebrated TWICE in Serbia

by Magdalena Petrović Jelić

 

If you ever dreamed of celebrating two Christmases and two New Years, Serbia is the best place for that. Did you know that we have double holidays in Serbia?

Watch this video to find out what are Christmas and New Year traditions in Serbia. Learn why we double-celebrate and how to wish your friends a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year in Serbian language.

[transcript of the video]

Have you ever wondered why we have two Christmases and two New Years in Serbia?

I’m Magdalena from Serbian Courses, and in this video I’ll explain our a bit strange tradition to double celebrate Christmas and New Year in Serbia.

 

The two calendars actually cause double Christmas and New Year in Serbia

It all starts with calendars. We basically have two calendars. The new calendar or Gregorian (novi ili gregorijanski kalendar) is used in the entire state. And the old calendar (stari ili julijanski kalendar) is used by our church. That’s why we refer to the old calendar as „pravoslavni“ (orthodox) whereas we would refer to the new calendar as „katolički“ (catholic).

 

Religion in Serbia

Serbia is predominantly orthodox country. If you look at the data at Wikipedia, you’ll see that 85% of population are orthodox, and five percent are catholic. However, these 5 percent are concentrated in North Serbia, in Vojvodina. And in Vojvodina it’s very typical that in various cities both catholic and orthodox Christmases are celebrated.

 

The dates of Christmas and New Year holidays in Serbia

Between the two calendars we currently have 13 days of difference.

The Catholic Christmas (katolički Božić) is celebrated on December 25 (dvadeset petog decembra).

The Orthodox Christmas (pravoslavni Božić) is celebrated 13 days later, on January 7 (sedmog januara).

New Year’s Eve is celebrated on December 31 (trideset prvog decembra).

Orthodox or Serbian New Year (Pravoslavna ili Srpska nova godina) is celebrated on january 13 (trinaestog januara).

 

Holiday contradiction in Serbia: Catholic New Year and Orthodox Christmas

Since the vast majority of citizens in Serbia are orthodox, the Orthodox Christmas (on January 7) is the biggest or the most celebrated holiday, whereas the entire country will celebrate December 31 as New Year.

Why is this so?

Because Christmas (Božić) is a very traditional holiday and people started celebrating New Year’s Eve on December 31 after the World War 2.

Celebration of the New Year on December 31 started with communism and it’s not a religious holiday.

It’s a party that we celebrate with our friends. Whereas Christmas is religious, traditional and it’s all about family.

 

Christmas and New Year customs in Serbia

For New Years Eve we say doček Nove godine, which means like ‘waiting for new year’. Because we’re waiting for it to come.

For Christmas Eve we say Badnje veče.

 

For Christmas we also have badnjak, which is a branch of an oak tree, usually.

And for New Year we have novogodišnja jelka – we don’t say Christmas tree, it’s „New Year’s tree“ for us.

 

For Christmas we have Božić Bata (Christmas Guy) bringing presents to the children.

And for New Year’s eve we have Deda Mraz (Santa Claus or „Grandpa Frost“, as we put it.)

 

As you can see, Christmas and New Year in Serbia are two different traditions. Božić is orthodox and religious and traditional, whereas New Year is new, and it’s all about friends and partying.

 

Since the businesses in the country and the State itself use the new calendar, December 31 is considered the end of the old year and the January 1 is considered the beginning of a new year, together with the entire Western World.

And January 13 is Serbian or Orthodox New Year and it’s less celebrated. It is also celebrated, celebration is the same (you party with your friends, you have the New Year’s tree) but less people celebrate on that date.

 

How to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Serbian

For the Catholic Christmas you will simple say: „Srećan Božić!“

The tradition of the Orthodox Christmas is to say „Hristos se rodi!“ (Christ was born). And the answer to this is „Vaistinu se rodi!“ (Indeed he was born).

 

How to wish a happy new year? We simply say: „Srećna Nova godina“ (happy New Year). And you can also say „Sve najbolje u novoj godini“ (I wish you all the best in the new year).

 

Srećan vam Božić i srećna Nova godina! Želim vam sve najbolje u novoj godini!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I wish you all best in the new year!

 

If you liked the video, please show it! Share it with your friends who might benefit from it, and help me spread the word about the Natural Serbian course!

Typical Serbian gifts: How to be a good guest in Serbia

Typical Serbian gifts: How to be a good guest in Serbia

by Magdalena Petrović Jelić

 

People talk a lot about how Serbs are good hosts, how they like their guests, how they are welcoming and friendly, etc. But, do you know how to be a good guest?

There are actually unwritten rules what we do as guests. Watch the video to learn what is expected from guests in Serbia and what are the most typical Serbian gifts we usually bring to our friends.

[transcript of the video about the typical Serbian gifts]

Hello and welcome to the Natural Serbian course!

Ja sam Magdalena, and today I want to teach you how to be a good guest in Serbia.

People talk a lot about how Serbians are good hosts, how they like their guests, how they are welcoming and friendly, etc.

But, do you know how to be a good guest?

There are actually unwritten rules about what we do as guests. It’s typical that we bring presents to our hosts.

But what kind of presents? What are typical Serbian gifts?

 

The most typical gift in Serbia is coffee.

Dvesta grama kafe – 200 grams of coffee is the most typical present that we bring to our friends or relatives when we are going to visit them.

100 grams is too little, more than 200 grams is too much, like if you really want to show off, so 200 grams is the most normal thing to bring to your friends or relatives in Serbia.

 

Another typical Serbian gift is chocolate.

We also commonly bring chocolate, čokolada, or anything sweet. But mostly chocolate. If you want to show off, or to show extra style, you will bring bombonjera (a fancy sweet-box). Bombonjera is very stilish.

 

Different gifts are typical for women, men and children in Serbia

For your lady host, domaćica, you can bring some flowers.

For your male host you will bring a bottle of drink, usually rakija or wine – these are the most typical. If you know what your host likes to drink, that’s what you’ll bring. Or you’ll just grab what you have at home and bring that.

If there are children, you can bring them chocolate or sweets, but nowadays there are ever more conscious parents and conscious mothers that don’t like giving sugar to their children, so they will prefer to get fruit: voće – banane, jabuke, mandarine, any kind of fruit. That’s really beautiful and as a mother, I would prefer that.

 

Visiting an ill friend? Here’s how to show your care!

Fruit is a typical gift we bring to a sick friend. If you have an ill friend and you’re going to visit them, bring a lot of fruit with you, that’s what we do.

 

Pick an old-fashioned typical Serbian gift for elders

If the people that you’re visiting are old, if you’re visiting grandmas and grandpas, then apart from coffee and chocolate, you can also bring ratluk. Ratluk (in English: Turkish delight) is another typical gift.

 

If you’re visiting your friends in Serbia, now you know what to do and how to be a good guest and return their hospitality.

Bring some chocolate to your friends. If you’re coming to my home, please bring some fruit instead.

 

These are the general guidelines for picking typical Serbian gifts.

Of course, you can be creative and bring anything you know your friends will like just to show that you care.

 

If you liked the video, if you like the course, please show it! Share it with your friends who might benefit from it, and help me spread the word about the Natural Serbian course!

Introductions in Serbian: What’s your name? It’s NOT what your book taught you!

Introductions in Serbian: What’s your name? It’s NOT what your book taught you!

by Magdalena Petrović Jelić

 

Learn all about the real-life introductions in Serbian: how to say what’s your name, how to introduce yourself and meet others in Serbia. How to say “nice to meet you” or “pleased to meet you”, and how to respond in Serbian language.

 

If you’re talking like this: Kako se zoveš? Ja se zovem Magdalena. Moje ime je Magdalena. – Stop!

This is NOT a natural Serbian way of introducing yourself in Serbian! Please, do not ask others “Kako se zoveš”!

We don’t really ask “Kako se zoveš?” when we’re talking to adults!

 

Watch this video to learn how to say what’s your name in Serbian and how to ask others about their names. Also, how to start a conversation with a new girl or guy you’ve just met in Serbia.

/Transcript of the video/

 

Zdravo! Ja sam Magdalena. A ti?

This video is about introductions: how to introduce yourself and how to ask someone else about their name – how to say what’s your name in Serbian.

 

 

What your book taught you about introductions in Serbian

First, let’s see what your book taught you. „Kako se zoveš?“ is a question to ask about someone’s name, „What’s your name?“ or literally „How are you named?“

The verb zvati se means ‘to be named’. It’s the same like in Italian (mi chiamo) or in Spanish (me llamo), in French (je m’appelle), and so on.

„Kako se zoveš?“ is a question about someone’s name.

 

 

Possible answers to the question “what’s your name” your Serbian book gave you are these:

„Zovem se Magdalena.“ „Ja se zovem Magdalena“

„Moje ime je Magdalena“

„Ja sam Magdalena“

 

So, your book taught you three options to say your name in Serbian language: „Zovem se …“, „Moje ime je…“ and „Ja sam…“.

 

Well, first of all, this question „Kako se zoveš?“ or „A kako se ti zoveš?“ is a question we ask children. It’s a kid’s question. We don’t ask adults, grownups, or even teenagers „Kako se zoveš?“ – only little children.

 

The second option to answer, “Moje ime je…”„Moje ime je Bond, Džejms Bond.“

That structure is imported from the English language, I believe, and it’s not natural. We don’t ever use it. We never say „Moje ime je…“

 

It is possible that someone asks: „Kako je vaše ime?“ (How’s your name?) or „Vaše ime?“ But that is in formal situations, like in a hospital, a nurse could ask a patient „Kako je vaše ime?“, or in court. We don’t actually say „Moje ime je…“.

 

Another possible question: „A vi ste…?“ (And you are…?) or „A ko ste vi?“ (And who are you?) that would be sort of rude. In this way you’re saying „Who the hell are you?“ Even though it’s formal, it shows despise towards the other person.

 

 

How we actually ask what’s your name in Serbian language

 

So how do we actually meet other people? How do we ask what’s your name in Serbian? There are few possibilities when we are in the situation to ask someone about their name.

 

The 1st situation to use introductions

The first situation how we meet other people is that we normally meet others through someone else. You know, there’s someone you know and someone you don’t know, and that’s how you meet a new person. And what happens is that we just shake hands and say only our names. Only names!

  • Magdalena
  • and the other person says their name, and we shake hands
  • we can end with: Drago mi je.”

 

The 2nd situation to meet someone in Serbia

The second possibility, the second option is meeting someone in a train, which is a bit old-fashioned, like let’s say on a plane, or in a situation where you’re waiting with another person for something to end, and you just start a small talk with them. Or if you’re hitting on a girl!

How this happens? We never approach a person asking about their name. That’s rude, don’t do that!

What we do is that we actually start a small talk. For example, if you’re in a waiting room with someone, first you start a small talk with them, you comment on the weather, on waiting, or anything that’s irrelevant, anything that’s not personal. And then if the person is interested, they will answer, and you will start talking to each other, and then if it gets serious and you see that the other person is really interested in talking to you, you will stop and say: „O, nismo se ni upoznali!“ (Oh, we haven’t even introduced) and then a handshake, „Ja sam Magdalena“, and the other person says their name.

 

The 3rd situation to ask what’s your name in Serbian

The third situation where you can ask someone about their name is when you meet someone that you’ve already met before but you forgot what their name was. Then you will say: „Izvini, kako se beše zoveš?“ (I’m sorry, what was your name again?) In this sentence the word „beše“ shows that we know we’ve heard it before, but we forgot. That’s what the word „beše“ stands for.

And I’m not going to… all right, maybe I could explain a little bit of grammar. That’s one of the very rare situations when we use „imperfekat“ – that’s verb to be in imperfect past tense.

 

All right guys, so please do not ask other people „Kako se zoveš?“, it’s  kind of rude.

Instead, you should offer your name and a handshake. And the other person will accept your handshake and tell their name in return.

After that you can follow with „Drago mi je“. But if the other person first says „Drago mi je“, do not repeat that! Instead, you shouold say „Takođe“ (likewise) or „I meni“ (to me too).

 

Ending a conversation in the Serbian language

There are three other options I want to tell you about today:

„Drago mi je što smo se upoznali“, and you can add some words to that to emphasize and say:

„Baš mi je drago što smo se upoznali“

„Mnogo mi je drago što smo se upoznali“

 

These three variants of one phrase are used at the very end of our conversation, so when we’re leaving. We’ve met someone new, we’ve talked to them, we’ve spent some time together, and then we’re shaking hands and we’re leaving, and we say „Drago mi je što smo se upoznali, ćao, vidimo se, čujemo se“ and other things that you’ve learned in the previous video about saying goodbye.

So that’s how you actually introduce yourself and ask what’s your name in Serbian – or when you don’t ask others about their names.

Thank you for watching the Natural Serbian videos, if you find them useful, if you find this video useful, please share it with your friends on the social networks that you use.

What Greeks and Serbs have in common

What Greeks and Serbs have in common

by Magdalena Petrović Jelić

How do you answer to “Dobro došli” (welcome)? If you say only “hvala” (thank you), you were taught WRONG!

In this video I reveal several traditional figures of speech, or magic formulas that will make you sound like a native, and that we have in common with the Greeks.

If you, as a foreigner, use these three formulaic expressions, that will definitely make you sound naturally Serbian, and you will make the Serbs smile and like you even more.

Also, I’m talking Greek to give you the atmosphere (with subtitles in English). 

Watch the video and scroll down to read the English translation and explanations.

Translation:

Hello and welcome to the Natural Serbian Channel!

Ja sam Magdalena and today I want to talk to you in Greek because I want to tell you about several things that people in Greece and Serbia have in common.

We’re talking about vocabulary, tradition and things like that.

 

If you’ve seen my previous video, you’ve learned that we in Serbia also use the „βρε“, we say bre,

and we believe that it is very much Serbian.

 

We also use the more and mori and correctly, we use it very correctly.

/Mori (μορή) only for women, in complience with the Greek grammar./

 

Also, the ajde or hajde like in Greece, it’s the same.

It’s only that we in Serbia we use hajde like Greek άντε and έλα, both are hajde

 

The other things, what are they? Do you know? Or you don’t? Write me about that.

I will tell you what I’ve noticed.

 

I won’t tell you about many terms in the medicine that we use, like:

pedijatar, psihijatar, ginekolog, stomatolog and so on.

(pediatrician, psychiatrist, gynecologist, dentist)

There are plenty of them and all the world uses them, not only in Serbia.

 

Neither will I talk about many Turkish words that we have in common, for example:

το δέρτι dert

το μεράκι merak.

(These are words for special feelings only the Balkans and Middle East will understand completely, try and google them 🙂 )

 

What I find interesting is something from the tradition.

It’s what I told you in the beginning, I told you:

«Καλώς ορίσατε» (Welcome)

 

And what will you answer to that? You will say:

«Καλώς σε βρίκαμε» (May we find you well)

 

The same formula exists in Serbia as well.

And from all the languages that I’ve learned, I haven’t seen that anywhere,

only in the Greek and the Serbian language.

 

In Serbian we say: „Dobro došao“ – „Βolje vas našao“, for masculine.

/Welcome! – May I find you even better, in even better situation than I’m in. Basically, you wish me well, and I wish you even better./

For the femenine gender, it’s different: „Dobro došla“ – „Bolje vas našla“.

All right? That’s in the singular. And in the plural, we have:

„Dobro došli“ – „Bolje vas našli“.

(Welcome! May we find you even better.)

 

It’s very nice, very traditional to say this.

Dobro došao – Bolje vas našao (masculine gender)

Dobro došli – Bolje vas našli (plural) 

Dobro došla – Bolje vas našla (femenine gender)

 

And today I’ll tell you about one more formula.

It’s the… what do we say for Easter in Greece?

We say:

«Χριστός ανέστη!» (Christ resurrected)

And what do we answer?

«Αληθώς ανέστη.» (He truly did resurrected)

Isn’t it so?

What do we say in Serbia? We say: „Hristos voskrese“ and we answer „Vaistinu voskrese“.

In the Greek language we use katharevousa (καθαρεύουσα)

to say this, and in the Serbian language we use something

that is like katharevousa in the Serbian language.

And these are the words that we don’t use generally, only in this formula do we use them:

Hristos voskrese! – Vaistinu voskrese!

 

We go even further, and for Christmas we say something  similar:

Hristos se rodi! – Vaistinu se rodi! (Chirst is born – He truly is born)

 

All right? These are the things that I wanted to tell you today and I hope that you liked it.

Maybe you knew it, did you know that? Or didn’t you? I’m interested to learn that.

Leave comments so that we see how many of you are watching us from Greece.

OK? Share as well, it goes without saying, and help me spread the word about the Natural Serbian.

How could we put it? Fisika? Servikos? Serviki? Natural Serbian language. Isn’t it so? Naturally Serbian!

Hugging and Kissing the Serbian Way

Hugging and Kissing the Serbian Way

by Magdalena Petrović Jelić

 

Should you hug and kiss or only shake hands in Serbia?  Do Serbs kiss three times on the cheek? When is it that they do it, and when they don’t? 

In this video I will tell you about 10 things you can do when meeting people in Serbia. When to kiss, how many times and how. 

 

Learn to hug and kiss like a Serb! 

 

ATTENTION: This is a slow Serbian video!

If you’re learning the language, use it as a listening exercise. Otherwise, just appreciate the sound of the Serbian language and focus on reading the English translation bellow the video.

 

Scroll down to read the English translation.

Do Serbs kiss three times?

English translation:

 

We will start from the most distant greeting and go all the way to the most intimate greeting.

 

The most distant greeting is a nod (I’m nodding my head now), then there’s a smile (I’m smiling now), then waving (I’m waving my hand now), then a handshake (we’re shaking hands), then we pat on the back, a hug (we’re hugging), then a kiss, then three kisses, then we have a smack (a friendly kiss, pusa or kiss), and finally the French kiss, the most intimate kiss.

 

Nodding – klimanje glavom

When we’re nodding, that’s the most distant greeting. Instead of saying “good afternoon” or “good morning”,

when all we want is to mumble “dobro jutro”, “bro jutro”, then we just nod and that’s it.

We’re keeping our distance.

 

 

A nod with a smile – klimanje glavom i osmeh

With a smile, that means that we’re glad to see someone, we’re happy to see them, we’re happy and there’s a smile: “Good day!” “Hello!” “Hi!”

 

Waving – mahanje

Then, we can wave. Ok? When we wave, the person is usually far away. When they are on the other side of the street, then we wave: “Ćao!” “Zdravo!” That’s informal. Ok?

If we’re saying to someone “Good afternoon, sir”, then we won’t wave. Then we’ll nod.

 

Handshake – rukovanje 

When we’re meeting someone, then we’ll shake hands, if it’s formal, ok? Formally, we shake hands: “Good after noon, how are you?”

And for farewell, we will also shake hands. When we’re leaving, we’re shaking hands. “Doviđenja, prijatno”, we shake hands and leave.

 

Pat on the back – tapšanje po ramenu

When we’re meeting our friends, men usually pat on each other’s back. Tap-tap-tap, they pat on the back.

Or they just hit once on the back: “What’s up, brother?” “What’s up, friend?”

They just hit you on the back like this.

 

Hug – zagrljaj 

Female friends, as well as male friends, hug each other. In Serbia, men also hug sometimes.

If they are close friends, then they will hug. Girls as well, relatives as well.

We hug a lot in Serbia.

 

A kiss – poljubac

With a hug, when huging, we usually also kiss. How and how many times?

 

 

Young people normally kiss only once.

That’s modern Serbian urban culture. Modern Serbian urban culture is that the young kiss only once.

The girls often kiss the air beside a cheek, the air beside a cheek, because they often have lipstick on and they do not want to leave trace. That’s why they kiss the air.

 

When the Serbs kiss three times

(To kiss) three times, it’s an old Serbian custom to kiss three times. That’s a little bit formal.

If we’re meeting our friend’s parents, we will usually shake hands when introducing ourselves. I say “I’m Magdalena, nice to meet you” and we shake hands.

If you’re meeting your partner’s parents, they will probably want to kiss you three times. Not always, but that’s most often the case. Because you’re a part of the family. Ok?

Since you’re a part of the family, they will pull you closer to them and kiss you three times.

 

 

Friends, young people, kiss only once and that’s called “cmok”“Cmok” is an onomatopoeia, that’s the sound, mwah, cmok. That’s why it’s called “cmok”.

Also, for that kind of a kiss we use the German word “pusa” or the English word “kiss”, ok?

And we have two verbs, we have the verb cmoknuti, mwah, and kisnuti, which also means mwah.

Come here, let me give you a kiss.

Dođi da te cmoknem, dođi da te kisnem, dođi da te poljubim.

 

French kiss – francuski poljubac

Finally, and maybe the most beautiful, the most intimate, there’s the French kiss.

Or, in slang we say “žvaka” (chewing gum). Ok? 

“Žvaka” is also that, like a candy, Orbit, that we put in our mouth and chew and we can blow a baloon. That’s “žvaka” (chewing gum). The same word we use for the French kiss.

French kiss or “žvaka” means that two people kiss and use their tongues while doing that.

 

 

 *** 

 

So, let’s answer the questions from the beginning.

 

 

When you’re meeting your friend’s parents for the first time, shake hands and introduce yourself, say sour name: “I’m Magdalena, nice to meet you”, ok?

 

 

The second question: when you’re meeting your partner’s friends, also shake hands and say your name: “I’m Magdalena, nice to meet you”. 

Do not kiss them. That would be strange, because you don’t know each other yet.

 

 

The third question: when you’re meeting your partner’s parents, you start by shaking hands, and they will pull you, if they want, and kiss three times. All right?

Traditionally, the Serbs kiss three times.

 

 ***

 

If you have any other questions, if you have comments, about interesting situations that you had, write about it below the video.

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