Saturday, June 28, 2008


Vidovdan (Видовдан) is a religious holiday, St. Vitus' Day, whose feast is on June 15. Where the Eastern Orthodox Church still uses the Julian calendar, as in Serbia, that date coincides, in the 20th and 21st centuries, with June 28 in the Gregorian calendar.

Vidovdan has long been considered a date of special importance in Serbia and the Balkans, because of the historical events that happened on that day. By far the most important is the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, the death of Prince Lazar and the so called demise of Serbian empire. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Serbian church commemorates the event as the Day of Holy Prince Lazar the Great Martyr.

The origin of word Vidovdan has several interpretations, none of which has been scientifically proved. According to one, it represents continuity of celebrating the Slavic pagan deity Svetovid, the god of plenitude and war, who might had been the supreme deity of the Serbs. Another version claims that reverence of St. Vitus (lat. Sanctus Vitus) was brought into Serbia by the Saxonian catholic miners, and the saint was customized to local populace. Svetovid was also worshiped in Polablje (region in today’s eastern Germany), where his temples were converted to the churches dedicated to St. Vitus.

According to the third interpretation, related to the tradition and myth of Kosovo battle, the clash of the two armies happened on the day when it was to be seen (videti in Serbian) who is faithful, and who is infidel. From then on, the day was named Vidovdan.

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