Despite the religious differences, the Serbs had many cultural ties to the other
people from the region and remain tied to these people today. These people are arguably
the same in terms of ethnicity and language, although many locals argue these points.
Despite the similarities, it was religion that most obviously divides the people
and hence is among the strongest identifying features for the people of Serbia and
the Balkan Peninsula today, even if religious services are rarely attended by the
majority of the population.
The similarities in the Balkan Peninsula are also magnified due to Serbian dominance
over the region during a couple stretches of time. The Serbs dominated the region
politically and spread their influence to neighbors as numerous cultural aspects
were exchanged, not to mention the movement of ethnic Serbs who later lived throughout
much of the peninsula. However, foreign invasions, particularly from the Ottoman
Turks and Austrians, and later foreign rulers changed the culture, but also magnified
Serbian pride led to a distinct culture that magnified the culture's individual
traits and what makes the culture unique. This led to conflicts with foreign rulers
and the eventual assassination of the Austrian Archduke and the beginning of World
War I. This cultural distinction continued into the Yugoslav period as Serbs dominated
the relationship for much of the time, but eventually lost power as Yugoslavia crumbled.
Today, the Serbian people return to finding their path forward and redefining their
culture and identity. The Serbs remain strongly tied to their religious identity
and great history, but with rapid changes in technology, communication, and infrastructure,
the people find themselves seeking a balance between past and present. Despite the
changes, the culture remains firmly rooted in the past, the religion, the language,
the ethnicity, the foods, and the people.