Zen Recreations

December – March   Hot Winter in the Hills

Vrela Zima u Brdima

This is a long-running (constantly “on”) festival that runs in many individual venues throughout the northern region of Montenegro. Culture, art and entertainment events are featured in shows, music events, parties, café gatherings and ski and sports events. Special musical guests make appearances to highlight the fun and events throughout the region.

Hot Winter in the Hills events are held in the towns of Kolasin, Zabljak, Niksic, Rozaje, Berane, and Cetinje, as well as on the slopes and ski paths of Durmitor, Bjelasicam Sinjajevin and more.Durmitor national park is a world heritage site, formed by glaciers and sliced by rivers and underground streams: along the Tara river canyon, which has the deepest gorges in Europe, there are dense pine forests and clear lakes.

January 6–8 Christmas traditions
Mir božji, Hristos se rodi! (God’s peace, Christ is born!)

In almost every town in Montenegro from Jan 6-8 “Mir božji, Hristos se rodi!” (God’s peace, Christ is born!) is celebrated. Traditionally, on Christmas day, men went into the woods and cut a type of Yule log called a ‘Badnjak’ (Christmas Eve tree), often an oak tree in order to burn it all night long indoors. Now, of course, one can just buy a Badnjak and whole trees aren’t burnt indoors, so the celebration has become more of a public gathering and celebration after Christmas.

Outside churches, people gather in the early evening on Christmas Eve to celebrate the tradition with large bonfires. There are sometimes nativity and Christmas plays put on at the same time, and people bring their own special Badnjak to put on the bonfires.

People greet each other with the special Christmas greeting “Hristos se rodi”(Христос се роди) - Christ is born, and reply with “Vaistinu se rodi” (Ваистину се роди) – “Truly born”.

At the main Christmas meal Cesnica is served, a special bread with a coin hidden inside. The tradition is that whoever finds the coin is blessed with good fortune

all year!

Other local specialties are roast pork ‘Pecenica’,

 

cabbage stuffed with rice and ground meat ‘Sarma’ and different kinds of cakes made just for the season.

It’s also traditional to place a nativity scene under the dinner table on a bed of straw. When the straw is spread out, people gathered for dinner make clucking sounds like chickens as a sign of the unity that Jesus intended, that people follow him like one big family (like chickens gathered together.)

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