The Byzantine Empire had a great influence on Serbian culture as it initially governed the Byzantine and Frankish frontiers in the name of the emperors. Serbs soon formed an independent country. They were baptised by Eastern Orthodox missionaries and adopted the Cyrillic script, with both Latin and Catholic influences in the southern regions. The Republic of Venice influenced the maritime regions of the Serbian state in the Middle Ages. The Serbian Orthodox Church gained autocephaly from Constantinople in 1219. The pope declared Stefan the First Crowned king, starting a prosperous medieval period of Serbian culture. The Ottoman Empire conquered the Serbian Despotate in 1459, ending a cultural and political renaissance. Ottomans ruled the territory and influenced Serbian culture, especially in the southern regions. Meanwhile, in the northern regions, the Habsburg monarchy expanded into modern-day Serbian territory beginning at the end of the 17th century, culturally binding this part of the nation to Central Europe, rather than the Balkans. After the Serbian Revolution led to autonomy and eventual independence, its people became the primary influence on the culture of Serbia.
Conversion of the South Slavs from Slavic paganism to Christianity began in the early 7th century, long before the Great Schism, the split between the Greek Orthodox East and the Roman Catholic West. The Serbs were first Christianised during the reign of Heraclius (610–641). They were fully Christianised by Eastern Orthodox Missionaries (Saints) Cyril and Methodius in 869 during the reign of Basil I, who sent them following Knez Mutimir's acknowledgement of the suzerainty of the Byzantine Empire.
After the Schism, those who lived under the Byzantine sphere of influence became Orthodox; those who lived under the Roman sphere of influence became Catholic. During Stefan Nemanjić's reign (1169–1196), Serbian principalities were united into a Kingdom and many churches and monasteries were built throughout the territories, including the Studenica Monastery. Nemanjić's youngest son, Saint Sava (born as Rastko) was an influential Serbian monk who became the first independent Serbian Archbishop in 1219, granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Later, with the arrival of the Ottoman Empire, one group of Serbs converted to Islam. Their modern descendants are considered to be members of the Gorani and Bosniak ethnic groups. The Serbian Orthodox Church was the westernmost bastion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Europe, which shaped its historical fate through contacts with Catholicism and Islam.
During World War II the Serbs, who lived in a wide area, were persecuted by various peoples and organisations. Catholic Croats within the Independent State of Croatia recognised the Serbs only as "Croats of the Eastern Greek faith". They held the ideological view that one third of the Serbs were to be murdered, one third were to be converted and the last third expelled. This view led to the deaths of at least 300,000 people, the religious conversion of 250,000 as well as mass expulsion.
According to the 2011 Serbian census, 6,079,396 people (84.6%) identified themselves as Christian Orthodox, five per cent Roman Catholic, three per cent Muslim and one per cent Protestant.
As with most Western cultures, a child is given a first name chosen by their parents but approved by the child's godparents who usually approve their choice). The given name comes first, the surname last, e.g. "Željko Popović", where "Željko" is a first name and "Popović" is a family name. Female names typically end with -a or -ica.
Popular names are mostly of Serbian (Slavic), Christian (Biblical), Greek and Latin origin. Some examples are:
- Serbian: Dragana, Dušan, Milan, Milica, Miloš, Nemanja, Uroš, Vuk
- Greek: Aleksandar, Anastasija, Anđela, Đorđe, Jelena, Katarina, Nikola, Stefan
- Biblical: Ana, Lazar, Luka, Jovan or Ivan, Marija, Marko, Matija, Mihajlo, Pavle, Petar
- Latin: Antonije, Roman, Srđan, Valentina
Most Serbian surnames (like Bosnian, Croatian and Montenegrin) have the surname suffix -ić (pronounced [t͡ɕ], Cyrillic: -ић). This is often transliterated as -ic or -ici. In history, Serbian names have often been transcribed with a phonetic ending, -ich or -itch. This form is often associated with Serbs from before the early 20th century: hence Milutin Milanković is usually referred to, for historical reasons, as Milutin Milankovitch.
The -ić suffix, with variants "-ović"/"-ević", is originally a Slavic diminutive and its meaning has been extended to create patronymics. Thus the surname Petr(ov)ić signifies "little Petar", as does, for example, "-sen"/"-son" in Scandinavian and to a lesser extent German and English names or a common prefix Mac ("son of") in Scottish and Irish, and O' (grandson of) in Irish names. It is estimated that some two thirds of all Serbian surnames end in -ić but that some 80% of Serbs carry such a surname with many common names being spread out among tens and even hundreds of non-related extended families.
Other common surname suffixes are -ov or -in which is the Slavic possessive case suffix, thus Nikola's son becomes Nikolin, Petar's son Petrov, and Jovan's son Jovanov. Those are more typical for Serbs from Vojvodina. The two suffixes are often combined. The most common surnames are Marković, Nikolić, Petrović, and Jovanović.
Most people in Serbia have three meals daily, breakfast, lunch and dinner, with lunch being the largest and most important meal. However, people traditionally ate only lunch and dinner, with breakfast being introduced in the second half of the 19th century.
Traditional Serbian cuisine is varied and can be said to be a mix of European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare. Ćevapi consisting of grilled heavily seasoned mixed ground meat patties is considered the national dish. Other notable dishes include koljivo used in religious rituals, Serbian salad, sarma (stuffed wineleaf), pilav (pilaf,a Middle eastern meal similar to rizzoto), moussaka and bean soup (prebranac). Česnica is a traditional bread for Christmas Day.
A number of foods which are easily available in Western supermarkets, are often made at home in Serbia. These include rakija (fruit brandy), slatko, jam, jelly, and pickled foods (notably sauerkraut, ajvar and sausage). There can be economic or cultural reasons behind these food choices. Food preparation is a strong part of the Serbian family tradition.
Serbian desserts are a mixture of other Balkan desserts and desserts native to central Serbia. The desserts that are usually served include uštipci, tulumbe, krofne and palačinke (crepes). Slatko is a traditional Serbian dessert popular throughout Serbia and it can be found in most Serbian restaurants in the Balkans and in the diaspora.
Beer is widely consumed in Serbia. The most popular brands are Jelen Pivo and Lav Pivo. Rakija, a type of fruit brandy is also widespread, with the plum rakija (šljivovica, symbol of Šumadija), and grape rakija (loza, southern Serbia). This is Serbia's national drink and is common in other Mediterranean countries. Domestic wine is also popular. Turkish coffee (called domaća or srpska kafa) is widely consumed as well.
Serbs speak the Serbian language, one of the South Slavic group of languages, specifically in the Southwestern Slavic subgroup together with other Serbo-Croatian varieties and Slovenian. It is mutually intelligible with the Croatian and Bosnian languages (see Differences in standard Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian) and most linguists consider it one of the standard varieties of the common Serbo-Croatian language.
Serbian is the only European language with active digraphia, using both Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet was devised in 1814 by Vuk Karadžić, who created the alphabet on phonemic principles. Cyrillic has its origins in the Cyril and Methodius transformation from the Greek script. The Latin alphabet used for Serbian is Ljudevit Gaj's version shared by all Southwestern Slavic languages.
Two Serbian words that are used in many of the world's languages are vampire and paprika. Slivovitz and ćevapčići are Serbian words which have spread together with the Serbian food/drink they refer to. Vampire entered most West European languages through German-language texts in the early 18th century and has since spread around the world.
Most Medieval literature was about religious themes. Various gospels, psalters, menologies, hagiographies, and essays and sermons of the founders of the Serbian Orthodox Church were written. At the end of the 12th century, two of the most important pieces of Serbian medieval literature were created—the Miroslav Gospels (UNESCO's Memory of the World) and the Vukan Gospels, which combined handwritten Biblical texts with painted initials and small pictures. Serbian epic poetry was a central part of medieval Serbian literature based on historic events such as the Battle of Kosovo.
Notable Baroque authors include Andrija Zmajević, Gavril Stefanović Venclović, Jovan Rajić and Zaharije Orfelin. Dositej Obradović is the most prominent literary figure of the Age of Enlightenment, while the most notable Classicist writer is Jovan Sterija Popović, although his works also contain elements of Romanticism. Modern Serbian literature began with Vuk Karadžić's collections of folk songs in the 19th century, and the writings of Njegoš and Branko Radičević. The first prominent representative of Serbian literature in the 20th century is Jovan Skerlić, who wrote in pre–World War I Belgrade and helped to introduce Serbian writers to literary modernism.
In the 20th century, Serbian literature flourished and a myriad of young and talented writers appeared. The most well-known authors are Ivo Andrić, Miloš Crnjanski, Meša Selimović, Borislav Pekić, Danilo Kiš, Milorad Pavić, David Albahari, Miodrag Bulatović, Dobrica Ćosić, Zoran Živković among others. Jelena Dimitrijević and Isidora Sekulić are two early 20th century women writers; Svetlana Velmar-Janković was the best-known female novelist in mi-20th and early 21st century. Ivo Andrić won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1961.
Traditions and customsEdit
Among Slavs and Orthodox Christians, only Serbs have the custom of slava. Each family has one patron saint they venerate on their feast day. Unlike most customs that are common for everyone, each family celebrates its own saint (of course, there is a lot of overlap) who is considered its protector separately. A slava is passed down mostly, though not exclusively, from father to son. (If a family has no son, and a daughter stays in the parental home and her husband moves in, her slava, not his, is celebrated). Each household celebrates only one saint, so the occasion brings the whole family together. However, since many saints (e.g. St. Nicholas, St. John the Baptist, St. George, St. Archangels of Gabriel and Michael, and the Apostles St. Peter and Paul) have two feast days, both are marked.
- Slava, Serbian Orthodox Patron saint veneration
- Kumstvo, God-parenthood in the Serbian Orthodox Church
- Pobratimstvo, blood-brotherhood
- Serbian Christmas traditions
- Badnjak (Serbian), Christmas tradition
- Serbian epic poetry, Epic poetry
- Čuvari Hristovog groba is a religious/cultural practice of guarding a representation of Christ's grave on Good Friday in the Church of St. Nicholas by the Serbian Orthodox inhabitants in the town of Vrlika
The Serbs are a highly family-oriented society, which glancing at a Serbian dictionary and the richness of their terminology related to kinship makes clear.
The traditional dance is a circle dance called kolo, which is common among Serbs, Montenegrins and Macedonians. It is a collective dance, where a group of people (usually several dozen, at the very least three) hold each other by the hands or around the waist dancing, forming a circle (hence the name), semicircle or spiral. It is called Oro in Montenegro. Similar circle dances also exist in other cultures of the region.
The Serbian Orthodox Church uses the traditional Julian calendar, so Christmas Day (December 25) falls on January 7 on the Gregorian calendar and is the day Serbs celebrate Christmas. This is shared with the Orthodox churches of Jerusalem, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and the Greek Old Calendarists.Serbs have their own customs regarding Christmas.  Early in the morning of Christmas Eve, the head of the family would go to a forest to cut badnjak, a young oak, the oak tree would then be brought into the church to be blessed by the priest. Then it would be stripped of its branches and combined with wheat and other grain products would be burned in the fireplace. The burning of the badnjak is a ritual which is of pagan origin and is considered a sacrifice to God (or the old pagan gods) so that the coming year may bring plenty of food, happiness, love, luck and riches. Nowadays, with most Serbs living in towns, they go to their church service to be given a small parcel of oak, wheat and other branches tied together to be taken home and set afire. The house floor and church are covered with hay, reminding worshippers of the stable in which Jesus was born.
Christmas Day itself is celebrated with a feast, necessarily featuring roasted piglet as the main meal. The most important Christmas meal is česnica, a special bread. It contains a coin; during the lunch, the family breaks up the bread and the one who finds the coin is said to be assured of an especially happy year.
Unlike in the West, Christmas is not associated with presents, although it is the day of Saint Nicholas, the protector saint of children, to whom presents are given. Most Serbian families give presents on New Year's Day. Santa Claus (Deda Mraz (literally meaning Grandpa Frost)) and the Christmas tree (generally associated with New Year's Day) are also used in Serbia because of globalisation. Serbs celebrate the Old New Year (currently on January 14 of the Gregorian calendar).
Another related feature, often lamented by Serbs themselves, is disunity and discord; as Slobodan Naumović puts it, "Disunity and discord have acquired in the Serbian popular imaginary a notorious, quasi-demiurgic status. They are often perceived as being the chief malefactors in Serbian history, causing political or military defeats, and threatening to tear Serbian society completely apart." That disunity is often quoted as the source of Serbian historic tragedies, from the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 to Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s. Even the contemporary notion of "two Serbia's"—one supposedly liberal, pro-European, Eurocentric and pro-western—and the other conservative, nationalist, Russophilic and Eurosceptic seems to be an extension of the discord. Popular proverbs "two Serbs, three political parties" and "God save us from Serbs that may unite!", and even the unofficial Serbian motto "Only Unity Saves the Serbs" (Samo sloga Srbina spasava) illustrates the national frustration with the inability to unite over important issues.
Serbian has a long tradition of humour and popular jokes. The most common type of humour is black humour and Serbian jokes are often imitated by other peoples from the Balkans, often with a twist. As with many other peoples, there are popular stereotypes at the local level: in popular jokes and stories, northern Serbs of Vojvodina (Lale) are perceived as phlegmatic, undisturbed and slow; Montenegrins are lazy and pushy; people from Pirot are misers; Bosnians are raw and simple; Serbs from Central Serbia (Šumadija) are often portrayed as capricious and malicious, etc.
There was some resumption of artistic endeavour after the restoration of the Serbian patriarch in 1557. Djordje Mitrofanović was the leading painter of the early 17th century with his work on the church at the Morača Monastery considered as amongst his best.
A Baroque church 'Our Lady of the Rocks' on an island in the Boka Kotorska, in Montenegro is one of the most notable pieces of architecture in Serbia from the early modern period; many fine specimens of silverware dating from the 17th century are contained within its walls. Traditional Serbian art was beginning to show some Baroque influences at the end of the 18th century as shown in the works of Nikola Nešković, Teodor Kračun and Jakov Orfelin.
There was somewhat of a resurgence in Serbian art in the 19th century as Serbia gradually regained its autonomy. Prince Aleksandar commissioned the building of a Monument to the Insurgents in Karađorđev Park in 1848 in Vračar. Serbian paintings showed the influence of Neoclassicism and Romanticism during the 19th century. Anastas Jovanović was a pioneering photographer in Serbia, taking the photos of many leading citizens.
Kirilo Kutlik set up the first school of art in Serbia in 1895. Many of his students went to study in Western Europe, especially France and Germany, and brought back avant-garde styles. Fauvism influenced Nadežda Petrović, while Sava Šumanović worked in Cubism.
After World War I, the Belgrade School of Painting developed in the capital with some members such as Milan Konjović working in a Fauvist manner, while others such as Marko Čelebonović worked in a style called Intimisme based on the use of colours.
Serbian music dates from the medieval period with strong church and folk traditions. Church music in Serbia of the time was based on the Osmoglasnik a cycle of religious songs based on the resurrection and lasting for eight weeks. During the Nemanjić dynasty and under other rulers such as Stefan Dušan, musicians enjoyed royal patronage. There was a strong folk tradition in Serbia dating from this time.
During Ottoman rule, Serbs were forbidden to own property, to learn to read and write and denied the use of musical instruments. Church music had to be performed in private. The gusle, a one-stringed instrument, was used by Serbian peasants during this time in an effort to find a loophole through the stringent Ottoman laws. Filip Višnjić was a particularly notable guslar (gusle player). In the 18th century, Russian and Greek chant schools were established and the Serbian Orthodox Church accepted Church Slavonic into their liturgy.
Folk music enjoyed a resurgence in the 19th century. Stevan Mokranjac, a composer and musicologist, collected folk songs as well as performing his own work. Kornelije Stanković wrote the first Serbian language works for choirs.
Traditional Serbian folk music remains popular today, especially in rural areas. Western rock and pop music has become increasingly popular, mainly in cities with rock acts such as Riblja Čorba and Đorđe Balašević incorporating political statements in their music. Turbo-folk combines Western rock and pop styles with traditional folk music vocals. Serbian immigrants have taken their musical traditions to nations such as the US and Canada.
Several notable composers used motifs from Serbian folk music and composed works inspired by Serbian history or culture, such as Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt, Arthur Rubinstein, Antonín Dvořák, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Franz Schubert, Hans Huber and other.
Theatre and cinemaEdit
Serbia has a well-established theatrical tradition with many theatres. The Serbian National Theatre was established in 1861. The company started performing opera at the end of the 19th century and the permanent opera was established in 1947. It established a ballet company.
Bitef, Belgrade International Theatre Festival, is one of the oldest theatre festivals in the world. New Theatre Tendencies is the constant subtitle of the Festival. Founded in 1967, Bitef has continually followed and supported the latest theater trends. It has become one of thefive most important and biggest European festivals, and one of the most significant culture institutions of Serbia.
Cinema was established reasonably early in Serbia, with 12 feature films being produced before the start of World War II. The most notable of the prewar films is Mihailo Popovic's The Battle of Kosovo in 1939.
Cinema prospered after World War II. The most notable postwar director is Dušan Makavejev, who is recognised internationally for Love Affair: Or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator in 1969. Makavejev's Montenegro was made in Sweden in 1981. Zoran Radmilović was one of the most notable actors of the postwar period.
Serbian cinema continued to make progress in the 1990s and today, despite the turmoil of the 1990s. Emir Kusturica won two Golden Palms for Best Feature Film at the Cannes Film Festival, for When Father Was Away on Business in 1985 and then again for Underground in 1995. In 1998, Kusturica won a Silver Lion for directing Black Cat, White Cat.
Serbia has a long tradition of handicrafts. Đakovica in Kosovo was known for its black pottery. Pirot in southern Serbia became known for its ceramics under the Ottomans with the potters following Byzantine designs. It also became a centre for the production of kilims or rugs.
The Slavs introduced jewellery making to Serbia in the 6th century AD. Metalworking started to develop on a significant scale following the development of a Serbian state. Workshops were set up in towns, large estates and in monasteries. The Studenica Monastery was known for the quality of its goldsmithing. Coins were minted not only by the kings but some of the wealthier nobility. The nobility was influenced by the wealth of the Byzantine court. Metalworking like many other arts and crafts went into decline following the Ottoman conquest. However, there was a partial revival in later centuries with a strong Baroque influence notably, the 17th century silverware at Our Lady of the Rocks on Boka Kotorska.
As of 2001, there were 27 daily newspapers and 580 other newspapers published in Serbia. Some of them have Internet editions. Politika founded in 1904 is the oldest daily newspaper in the Balkans. There were also 491 periodical magazines published in Serbia with the Nedeljne informativne novine (NIN) and Vreme amongst the notable ones. The state exerts its influence on some daily publications such as Večernje novosti and Politika.
Television broadcasting started in 1958 with every country in the former Yugoslavia having its own station. In Serbia, the state television station was known as RTB and became known as RTS (Radio Television of Serbia) after the breakup of Yugoslavia. From the time of Yugoslavia until the Bulldozer Revolution in 2000, the ruling party controlled state broadcasting. NATO bombed the headquarters of the RTS station during its 1999 air-strikes against Yugoslavia, claiming it was being used for propaganda purposes.
There was some private broadcasting with the B92 radio and television station starting in 1989, although it was shut down in 1999 during the hostilities. After the fall of Milošević, RTS became known as the "new" RTS as an assertion of independence while B92 commenced broadcasting. During 2001, there were 70 television centres in Serbia of which 24 were privately owned. In 2003, there was a return to censorship as the government of Zoran Živković temporarily imposed a state of emergency following the assassination of Zoran Djindjic. The European Federation of Journalists continues to have concerns over media freedom in the country.
The two most popular football clubs in Serbia are Red Star Belgrade and FK Partizan. Their supporters are the Delije and the Grobari, respectively. The Serbian national football team participated in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
In basketball, Serbian clubs are successful and participate regularly in European competitions, where they often make quarter-final and semi-final appearances. The Serbian national basketball team is successful in international competitions, having won several FIBA World Championship, EuroBasket and Olympic gold medals.
Serbian men's and women's teams are also World Champions in sports, such as water polo and volleyball.
Serbian tennis players have been successful. Novak Djokovic is the current World No. 1, and he has won nineteen Grand Slam Singles titles so far. Janko Tipsarević, Viktor Troicki, Jelena Janković and Ana Ivanovic are also successful. The Serbia Davis Cup team won the 2010 Davis Cup Final held in the Belgrade Arena.
At the beginning of the 21st century, there were 32 art galleries and 142 museums in Serbia. Belgrade has many of the most significant with the National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade, the Gallery of Frescoes featuring Orthodox Church art, the Ethnographic Museum and the Princess Ljubica's Residence. Novi Sad contains the Museum of Vojvodina, Gallery of Matica Srpska as well as the Petrovaradin fortress.
Matica Srpska is the oldest and most notable cultural and scientific organisation in today's Serbia. Its name is translated in Serbian as the Serbian matrix or parent body of the Serbs. It was founded in 1826 in Budapest and moved to Novi Sad in 1864. Amongst other achievements, it compiled a six-volume study of the Serbian language between 1967 and 1976. Its journal Letopis Matice Srpske is one of the oldest periodicals examining scientific and cultural issues anywhere in the world. Vojvodina province of Austro-Hungary became attractive for Serbs ever since the fall of Serbia in the 15th century, and was the site of the Great Serbian Migrations, when Serbs colonised the area escaping Turkish vengeance. Sremski Karlovci became the spiritual, political and cultural centre of the Serbs in the Habsburg Empire, with the Metropolitan of the Serbian Orthodox Church residing in the town. To this day, Serbian Patriarch retains the title of Metropolitan of (Sremski) Karlovci. The town featured the earliest Serb and Slavic grammar school (Serbian: gimnazija/гимназија, French: Lycée) founded on August 3, 1791. In 1794, an Orthodox seminary was also founded in the town, ranking second oldest in the world (after the Spiritual Academy in Kiev). Novi Sad is home to Serbia's oldest professional theatre, founded in 1861 as Serbian National Theatre (serbian: Srpsko Narodno Pozorište), followed by Belgrade in 1868; however two other cities claim this title: City of Kragujevac Knjazesko Srbski Teatar since 1835 and Subotica since 1851 (*there were theatres throughout Serbia long before that time but cannot be classified as "professional").
There is a network of libraries with three national libraries, 689 public libraries, 143 higher education libraries and 11 non-specialised libraries as of 1998. The National Library of Serbia is the most significant of these. Project Rastko, founded in 1997, is an Internet library of Serb culture.
The roots of the Serbian education system date back to the 11th and 12th centuries when the first Catholic colleges were founded in Vojvodina (Titel, Bac). Medieval Serbian education, however, was mostly conducted in Serbian Orthodox monasteries (UNESCO protected Sopoćani, Studenica, Patriarchate of Peć) starting from the rise of Raška in the 12th century, when Serbs overwhelmingly embraced Eastern Orthodoxy rather than Roman Catholicism. The first European-style higher education facilities, however, were founded in Catholic Vojvodina, Teacher's College in Subotica in 1689, although several facilities have functioned even before (e.g. Jesuit School in Belgrade, since 1609). Following the short-lived Serbian independence between 1804 and 1813, Belgrade officially became the educational centre of the country (excluding Vojvodina). The University of Belgrade is the largest and most prestigious institution of higher education in Serbia, founded as the Belgrade Higher School in 1808. The Gymnasium Jovan Jovanović Zmaj was founded in 1810 and many important Serb cultural figures studied there.
Within the Government of Serbia, the Serbian Ministry for Culture is responsible for administering its cultural facilities.
- The Serbian flag is a red-blue-white horizontal tricolour.
- The Serbian eagle, a white two-headed eagle, which represents dual power and sovereignty (monarch and church), was the coat of arms of the Nemanjić dynasty.
- The Serbian cross is based on the Byzantine cross, but where the Byzantine Cross held four Greek letter 'V' (or 'B') meaning King of Kings, ruling over Kings, the Serbian cross turned the Byzantine "B" into four Cyrillic letters of 'S' (C) with little stylistic modification, for a whole new message (traditionally rendered as Samo sloga Srbina spasava—Only Unity Saves the Serbs). If displayed on a field, traditionally it is on a red field, but could be used with no field at all.
Both the eagle and the cross, besides being the basis for various Serbian coats of arms through history, are the basis for the symbols of various Serbian organisations, political parties, institutions and companies.
Serbian folk attire varies, mostly because of the very diverse geography and climate of the territory inhabited by the Serbs. Some parts of it are, however, common:
- A traditional shoe that is called the opanak. It is recognisable by its distinctive tips that spiral backward. Each region of Serbia has a different kind of tips.
- A traditional hat that is called the šajkača. It is easily recognisable by its top part that looks like the letter V or like the bottom of a boat (viewed from above), after which it got its name. It gained wide popularity in the early 20th century as it was the hat of the Serbian army in the First World War. It is still worn every day by some villagers today, and it was a common item of headgear among Bosnian Serb military commanders during the Bosnian War in the 1990s. However, the šajkača is common mostly for the Serbian population living in the region of Central Serbia (Šumadija), while Serbs living in Vojvodina, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia had different types of traditional hats, which are not similar to šajkača. Different types of traditional hats could also be found in eastern and southern parts of Central Serbia.
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