|The make-shift tent for 400 guests|
|The long table / the official photographer/videographer / a kid running out from the kitchen|
Welcome to Cacak, a quiet and peaceful town where I witnessed a big 18th birthday celebration of Ivan's first cousin, Alexander last weekend. I have seen many celebrations similar to this in Manila but nothing compares to Serbia's long list of traditions so this is one occasion that's really worth sharing. I actually thought it was a small low-key gathering until we got there.
400 guests is a rather large number!
I was not only astonished by the size of the party but also by the fact that certain Serbian traditions are just lovely to share!
|Serbians give 3 kisses on the cheeks as a custom! Here, Alexander greets his guests at the gate one by one!|
Just for trivia records, cheek-kissing people do over here with friends and family. Doing it with acquaintances upon meeting means you are friends. This is also true for men to men. One reason I think why most Serbian men I know are highly-sensitive people. When Ivan meets old male friends on the streets, for instance, I can't help but smile when they give each other 3 kisses. It is a treat to see men respect each other in that way without thinking of it as ridiculous. In another place, other men would probably gonna die in annoyance just thinking about this whole kissing thing...
But here, basically, it is culturally normal :)
|Serbs dancing KOLO, a traditional collective folk dance; relatively the same as Hassapiko of Greece (at least to me)|
For drinking (the reason why we all like to party), the choices are kafa (coffee), pivo (beer), water, juice, cola, and of course, and their very own rakija.
Rakija, Serbia's national drink is too strong for me. I always describe it to be as strong as tequila. And since they drink it pure, one shot is always enough for me. It is home-produced, so every household (literally) always have it. At Ivan's country home for example they have maybe 3 gigantic barrels of rakija stored.. Phew! O.A. diba?!
|The gift table manned by Katarina|
And just like on weddings, large monetary gifts are bestowed on the celebrant by families & friends. There would be a gift table, with one person manning recording everything. So when you come to a party, this is initially your first stop. According to Ivan, 50 euros is appropriate, unless you are fabulously wealthy. Big investment = yes! But if you do the math, it's really not bad :D Brilliant, eh?
|Alexander, Mira, Ivan, Diana & Katarina|
Srećan Rodjendan, Alexander!!!
Maligayang Kaarawan sa iyo!!!
Thank you for this day of cultural immersion :D