Belgraders take part in Christmas Day ritual

BELGRADE -- A large number of Belgraders gathered on Tuesday in Terazije Square to take part in a Christmas Day ritual of breaking bread.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

The ritual involves the breaking of a round loaf of bread - "česnica" in Serbian - that is prepared as part of Serbian Orthodox Christmas traditions.

The loaf is baked with a golden coin hidden inside it, and those participating in the ritual each receive a piece. Believers think that recovering the coin along with the piece of bread will bring luck in the coming year.

The public breaking of the česnica was organized for the 23rd time this year by the Bakers' Union of Serbia.

The loaf, prepared by the Trimčević Bakery, weighed 50 kilograms and contained several coins, the first of which was found by a 6-year-old girl, Mila Gligorijević.

Other coins were also found by children this year.

Others who gathered for the ritual received various pastries and other baked goods, the Beta news agency reported.

Serbia's majority Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7, according to the Julian calendar.