“Rita, you are from Serbia. Here are your routes. It’s nice that you decided to finally come to get to know your home.”
Mr. Milko always looked credible repeating this prophecy from the fresh terrace, while holding his cigarette with a unique vivacity. According to him, Nis, the cradle of Constantinople, would be the origin of most of the Europeans, and by inference, Portuguese nation… and by inference, me.
Somehow, I did feel like home in Nis. There’s some personal magic feeling, I can’t really explain.
The first time I decided to travel to Serbia, it was last winter on a volunteer program to teach Spanish, for a month, to high school students. I had Serbia on my wishlist for a long time, because it seemed a perfect set to escape the massive tourism around all Europe, while enjoying a unique contact with a raw culture, something very rare, that I do appreciate. And so, I did decide to return in August, to feel the warm and greenish Serbia.
When I later asked my Serbian friends what would they consider to be the top features of the Serbian culture, a revealing debate got on fire.
It became pretty obvious that Serbians feel like their culture had been swallowed by several years of the Turkish invasion, as so the successive back and forwards of their countries’ borders over the years, and still, some conflictual areas on the neighborhood, like Kosovo, bring some instability.
It is just by now, that they are realizing finding peace for their people also means reaching for their cultural routes, as a nation. However, after so many foreigner influences, it is messy to define what it is truly their own. That was the terms we reached to, on that small wood desk of sicevacka klisura natural park, throwing ideas in between savory bites of homemade cheese pitta.
And so I reunited this special list for you.
10 unique facts about the Serbian culture
1) Serbians have a special orthodox religious celebration – Slava -, where all family reunites under a unique tradition.
2) Kafanas are traditional places for weddings, new year’s eve or simply a fun night out. From youth to seniors, everyone embraces this environment of delicious food and Serbian cheerful songs.
3) Besides what’s advertised, Serbian men have some sexy features, with blessing genetics for very fit bodies and light eyes in general.
4) Serbian girls have also some beautiful face lines and are usually tall. Plus, they definitely know how to boost their figure with makeup tricks and an elegant wardrobe.
5) If anyone knows how to make homemade food are Serbians. Seriously, Italian cuisine is totally overrated. I did smear all over those new flavors.
6) Speaking of Italy, the word ‘ciao’ is used on a daily basis, to say hello, or goodbye in Serbia. I found it interesting.
7) A big part of serbian families lives with very limited economic resources. A lot of university students do work during their studies, to support their own.
8) Serbians are loud people, they do speak and laugh very loudly between them. It is common to hear a sad story behind an open smile, used to cover any disappointment behind.
9) They love all kind of celebrations and take any opportunities as an excuse to party. Besides almost every city having its own holiday, they managed to create a watermelon day as other very creative dates. It’s not a coincidence that Serbia hosts some of the finest techno parties in Europe.
10) The badass Serbian stereotype shipped across the world by Money Heist is not realistic, just in case you are picturing yourself shrunk between bullies.