Today in Montenegro, Orthodox believers celebrate Badnji dan, which is celebrated annually on Christmas Eve and marks the beginning of the most joyful Christian holiday - the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
A Badnji day (or Christmas Eve) was named after an oak, a young oak tree, which, according to ancient custom, the head of the family chops down in the forest before the sun rises, and in the evening, before the Christmas dinner, the owner brings it into the house with a special ritual. This rite is fairly common in Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dalmatia, Istria (among Orthodox and Catholics), in Bulgaria, Macedonia, parts of Croatia and Slovenia. The first mention of Badnjak refers to the XIII century.
Badnjak is a symbol of that tree, which, according to legends, the shepherds brought Joseph and Mary, so that they could make a fire and warm the cave in which Jesus was born. According to tradition, the badnjak is lit on the eve of the holiday and it burns until Christmas, when the joy of the birth of Jesus Christ is announced.
Badnji Day and Christmas Eve are celebrated on January 6 by all Orthodox churches and believers who celebrate holidays on the Julian calendar - the Russian Orthodox Church, the Jerusalem Patriarchate, Holy Mountain, the Copts - the Egyptian Christians and the Orthodox old-age churches of Greece.
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