Monday, Jul 18th

Easter

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Easter

Easter day around the world usually means celebration around the rich table with the loved ones.

From tradition of cooking more than 4.500 eggs for a giant omelette on the streets of Haux in France, to using a native marsupial, the Bilby, in Australia instead of Easter bunny, and forbidding men in Poland to take part in preparing the traditional Easter bread, because custom has it that their moustache will turn gray and the dough will fail. Strange, but it’s a tradition that has been practiced for years and without which many people could not imagine spending Easter.

Easter day, representing the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, is the most important holiday for Christians all around the World who cherish their own customs, beliefs and habits that are passed on from generation to generation. The Orthodox Christian date for Easter Sunday often occurs at a later date than the Easter date observed by many western churches. This year, as well as last year, they fall on the same date. Orthodox Easter preparations begin with 40 days of strict fasting prior to Easter Day. Many Orthodox Christians attend liturgies during the Holy Week that leads up to Easter Sunday. Then, the fasting period has ended and meat and dairy products can be consumed.

People in Serbia who are not great believers or do not practice certain customs such as those concerning 40 days long fasting, are mainly engaged in painting, decorating and coloring Easter eggs. This usually happens on Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. Although you can see a trend of relying on western habits in terms of buying and giving chocolate eggs, people in Serbia are still used to relatively old, traditional way of practicing Easter habits. Serbia continues to successfully resist making Easter more commercial, consisting of greeting cards and confectionery such as chocolate Easter egg.

Easter egg is hard-boiled and dyed red to symbolize the blood of Christ and the first painted egg is kept until the next Easter, as guardian of the house. Color, technique and stickers with religious motives or cartoon characters are used today when decorating eggs. Traditional methods of coloring eggs, using for example a wax, are still present. With this on mind and knowing Serbs value nicely decorated eggs, competitions are getting organized all over Serbia on Holy Saturday, with an idea to choose the best decorated egg, and this is where children enjoy the most. If you are interested in the art of decorating eggs, check the site for cherishing interesting Serbian cultural and art heritage.

In the morning, on Easter Sunday, believers go to the church to participate in the Easter service after which the holiday is traditionally celebrated with the family around the festive table. All people, no matter if they are believers or not greet each other that day saying: "Hristos Vaskrse" (Christ is risen) and "Vaistinu Vaskrse" (Truly He is risen). The first lunch after the big Easter fasting should not only be a tasty and diverse, but it is necessary to put food on the nicely arranged table. This is the opportunity to create a home atmosphere of closeness, belonging, and to properly mark the resurrection of Christ. Housewives try to show of all the culinary power they have and serve plenty of food on the beautifully decorated table. There is no particular Easter dish in Serbia, but it is customary to prepare a lamb and pastry dough in different forms.

In addition to the various celebrations before Easter Sunday, the culmination of activities is the egg tapping game. The owner of the last undamaged egg is considered lucky. Of course, for this purpose there are also various competitions of which the most important is Egg-tapping World Cup in Mokrin, where children and grown-ups can compete in the knocking of chicken eggs.

On Easter holiday different stores have different working hours. Working hours are subject of change but one thing is for sure-don't leave your shopping for a Sunday, because stores ain't working. On the occasion of this Easter 2011, food stores on April 22nd have permission to work from 8am-12 noon while on Saturday working hours are from 8am till 1pm. On Easter, all shops and supermarkets can be closed. On Easter Monday, food stores again, can work from 8am to 12 noon. Usually bigger markets have regular working hours on Friday, Saturday and Monday.

Street parking in zoned parts of Belgrade is free from Friday 22nd to Monday 25th of April.

On Good Friday, Mini Maxi and Maxi food stores are working until 6pm while Idea and Roda are having usual working hours. Malls Delta City and USCE are open from 10am-6pm.

On Saturday following stores are working - Idea, Roda, Maxi, Mini Maxi and Visnjica (usual working hours),and SOS Market (until 6pm). Malls Delta City and USCE are having normal working hours.

On Easter Sunday - Visnjica stores in Kraljice Marije 36, Cara Dusana 34, Skadarska 45, Carice Milice 11, Drinciceva 29, Francuska 55, Vuka Karadzica 11 and Bul. Oslobodjenja 51 are working Non-stop. Other Visnjica stores are open until 10pm. Open market (pijaca) Kvantas is open for business during Easter holidays while the market "Gornja varos" in Zemunu is working from 6am-1pm.

On Monday Maxi is back with the standard working hours, IDEA Extra and IDEA Super are going to be open until 7pm, while other Idea stores are working until 3pm. Malls Delta City and USCE are having normal working hours.

During holidays post offices in Belgrade are also having changed working hours. On 22nd, 23rd an 25th of April the following post offices are on duty: in Nehruova 68b and in Djordja Stanojevica 35, are open form 8am-8pm. Post office in Bul. Umetnosti 4-6 is working from 9am to 7pm, while the post office in Savska 2 is open for service from 8am-3pm.

Regardless of whatever are your beliefs, preferences, previous experiences, relax and enjoy the new experience. It is a time to get together with friends, family and loved ones and celebrate this joyful time. Happy Easter!


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