BELGRADE’S PATRON SAINT DAY: Ascension (Vaznesenje Gospodnje – Spasovdan)
Ascension (Spasovdan or Vaznesenje Hristovo) is a big orthodox church holiday that is also the slava of the city of Belgrade. The fact that it was celebrated among Catholics and Muslims says a lot about its relevancy.
It’s extremely respected in the tradition of the Serbian people, and especially during the reign of the emperor Dušan Silni. The Dušan’s law was published to the public in the year of 1349. on Spasovdan, and it was amended on the same day in 1354.
Vaznesenje Hristovo is celebrated 40 days after the Easter and always on Thursday.
The church is celebrating this holiday as one of the 12 big holidays and 8 Christ’s holidays. A legend says that on that day “the God has saved himself from the evil people and have left to the sky”, and the story remains that the God has “escaped to the sky from the evil and bad people”.
Since ancient times, Spasovdan has been celebrated as a spring holiday for farmers and livestock farmers.
It is considered a very happy day, marking the good time to start with anything, but since it's a big holiday, it's not recommended to grasp any hard and significant work.
Apart from being celebrated throughout Serbia, Spasovdan is also the official church holiday of the city of Belgrade.
In many places, this is a holiday of the entire village, and all locals celebrate it together. It is customary that before the dawn, Krstonoše (cross carriers) visit the inscriptions - holy trees, mostly oak trees or some fruit trees, usually wild pears trees. People wear shingles and cross and whales the tree with flowers and other gifts. Crosses carriers go around the record, praying and singing. This kinds of litija (processions) are for the better crops growing, the arrival of rain and progress in general.
These holy pillars can be found in many areas, especially in Šumadija and Vasojevići. They are considered holy trees, which is a sin to cut.
Various customs related to Spasovdan
Like every holiday, many customs are also associated with the Spasovdan, which vary from place to place.
According to some beliefs, there is no working on Spasovdan so the crops will grow and so that the insects don’t devastate the fields.
Particularly common custom is putting crosses on fields, hives, stables and in gardens.
There is also a custom that on Spasovdan the first food that goes in your mouth should be strawberries. Eating strawberries first thing on the Spasovdan’s morning will bring health and wealth to your home.
It was also customary to take a bath in the river or the sea before the Sun comes out.
Spasovdan is the church holiday of the city of Belgrade, which guards the memory of that day in 1403. a year when despot Stefan Lazarević announced that Belgrade will be the Serbian capital. This year, Spasovdan is celebrated on Thursday, May 17th.
Spasovdan is renowned in 1993 as the slava of the city of Belgrade. On that day, in 1993, litija has passed via streets of the capital, first time after 46 years.
Litija has the custom route on the Belgrade’s streets, symbolically closing the circle in the porta of the Vaznesenjska church, which was built as a city temple.
Liturgy in the Vaznesenjska church, that marks the beginning of the Spasovdan commemoration, starts at 9 AM. Litija will begin at 11:30 AM in Admirala Geprata street, and it will go through Kneza Miloša, Kralja Milana, Terazije, Kneza Mihaila, Pariska, Kneza Sime Markovića, Brankova, Kraljice Natalije and Dobrinjska streets.
The cavalry will also be participating, and the walk plan considers stopping by the Terazijska česma, Saborna church and in the garden of the Vaznesenjska church. There will be a commemoration held, honoring civilians who died in the bombing of Belgrade on April 6th, 1941, during the Second World War.
Commemoration of Spasovdan
No matter how much a believer someone is, Vaznesenje Hristovo should be celebrated by every citizen of Belgrade. If it does not match your religious beliefs, take this day as a celebration of Belgrade and all the charms that it possesses. Take advantage of the litija walking area for a light stroll in the streets of Belgrade, a visit to Kalemegdan or a cup of coffee in a cafe overlooking the river.
Enjoy your lunch at one of the great Belgrade's restaurants and lift a glass in honor of our beautiful capital.
Near the litija route, there are splendid restaurants where you will surely enjoy. Skadarlija is just behind the corner, and it hides the jewels of the Belgrade’s restaurants, like the restaurant Tri šešira.
In Dositejeva street, there is an indescribable Little Bay restaurant which will surely delight you with its interior and an exquisite cuisine.
You won’t choose wrong if you come to the restaurant New Reset in the Gospodar Jovanova street, which has a beautiful garden designed for enjoyment.
If you plan to stroll to the riverside, and by the way get hungry, the right place for rest is the restaurant Hush Hush, located in Karadjordjeva street. Apart from beautiful views of the river, very interesting interior design and friendly staff, this restaurant has a very eclectic and unusual menu - a fusion of Balkan cuisine with international specialties. So, you can try traditional dishes here in a completely different way.