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Culture & Identity of Serbia

Introduction

Serbian Culture - On a bench in Belgrade
On a bench in Belgrade

Serbia is in transition in many ways and due to this transition people in the country have various ways of lives. For nearly a quarter of the people life revolves around their job in agriculture, for others service jobs in the city are the daily routine, and for a quarter of the working age population they are struggling to find any work at all.

The similarities amongst the people are heavily dependent on priorities as family seems to be the reason for work and the focus of most individuals. Despite the similar priority, work schedules mean the way of life for every individual is quite distinct. The farmers have very seasonal lives, working long hours with the sun during the warmer months and working shorter hours during the long winter days. Many of the urbanites' jobs are more consistent as most work hours run from about 8:00 am to about 4:00 pm. Likewise, schools tend to have regular hours, but have summers off of school from about mid-June to early September.

No matter what the daily way of life is in Serbia for an individual, life tends to revolve around family, which is why most people work in the first place. Most evenings and weekends (Saturday-Sunday) are spent with family, either around the dinner table or elsewhere. This is especially true in more rural areas where entertainment options are lacking. In the cities there are plenty of ways to entertain one's self and the social scenes in these places is quickly growing as friends are hugely important and more time is spent with friend than family among many people.

Identity

Serbs are proud of being Serbs and identify as such, but what it means to be a Serb is changing. This identity is primarily defined by being an ethnic Serb, but also implies the person speaks Serbian and is a Serbian Orthodox Christian. Citizenship and other cultural aspects of Serbs may also be included in the definition to varying degrees. Among the ethnic minorities in Serbia, most also identify first with their ethnicity, however in the case of the Bosniaks and Croatians the biggest difference between the groups is religion. Although all three argue each has a distinct ethnicity and language, others would argue all three are ethnically and linguistically identical, meaning their biggest difference is in terms of religion and perception, both of which strongly influence culture. Today there is no doubt all of these people have distinct differences that expand beyond just religious differences and well into the cultural realm.

This page was last updated: May, 2014