"Badnjak" is an
oaklog which is cut and burned in the hearthas a part of Serbian Christmascustoms (as the Serbian Orthodox Churchuses the Julian calendar, Christmas currently falls on January 7of the Gregorian calendar).
Early on the morning of Christmas Eve, the head of the family would go to a forest in order to cut "badnjak", which would then be brought into the church to be blessed by the priest. Then the oak tree would be stripped of its branches, which combined with
wheatand other grain products, would be burned in the fireplace. The burning of the "badnjak" is a ritual which is most certainly of paganorigin, and it is considered a sacrifice to God so that the coming year may bring plenty of food, happiness, love, luck and riches.
Today, as most Serbs live in cities, "badnjak" can be bought at a marketplace (like
Christmas trees), or is sometimes received in church after the church service. Often just a little oak branch, "badnjak" is lit at home symbolically.
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