Page 983 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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 St. Vitus’ Day (Vidovdan) and the Serbs in america
They are remembered on Vidovdan, the Kosovo heroes celebrated in verse and the countless unsung generations of Serbians who followed them. Such is the power of St. Vitus’ Day (Vidovdan) that the strongest emotions are called forth in every Serbian at the mention of
this word—tears of joy and grief, love of country, and all that is held in esteem and affection are expressed. These deeply felt responses have remained the same from the earliest days of im- migration to the United States until today.
No matter whether of large or of lesser numbers, every Serbian community commemorated St. Vitus’ Day (Vidovdan) to the best of its ability according to the local circumstances—in min- ing and lumber camps, in towns and cities, wherever there was a society, a fraternal organiza- tion, or parish.
in early days, the men would don their lodge insignias, military-style hats, lodge identifica- tions, sashes, and swords. They then would meet at a member’s house, or in a hall—if one had been established—and plan this special day. Usually, there was a march to the cemetery to re- member the heroes of Kosovo and of all subsequent battles for the Holy Orthodox Faith and free- dom.
if there was a priest to lead the prayers, a proper parastos (memorial service) would be held; if not, there would be a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. an address and salute to the fallen would follow.
The women would serve pogača (unleavened bread), liquor, and sweets at the cemetery. The occasion would be completed by a picnic at a grove, park, or backyard. a traditional meal, with all the trimmings, would be enjoyed by all. in this manner, the day was commemorated with available means. in towns and cities where there was a Serbian Orthodox church, the festivities were more elaborate. The Divine Liturgy was offered. a Parastos-Memorial was sung: “For the Honorable Prince St. Lazar and all those who laid down their lives for the Serbian Orthodox Faith and the Serbian homeland.”
Where there were fraternal organizations with uniformed members, these men would posi- tion themselves around the koljivo (boiled wheat) with their swords drawn to honor those be- ing solemnly remembered.
in many instances, St. Vitus’ Day (Vidovdan) was commemorated at a common Slava as on Savin-dan, and the koljivo and kolač (cake-like bread) were offered. The priest would deliver an inspiring sermon on the significance of the day. Many tears were shed by the congregation be- cause so many were veterans of recent wars, or remembered their grandfathers and fathers who had fallen in battles with the Ottomans. Many present still bore scars of their sufferings and wounds.
again, the congregation would retire to a hall or picnic ground where laymen would give fiery speeches urging the audience to remember and emulate those prayed for. it was surprising to hear the eloquence of these messages from mostly unlettered and unschooled men, and their native intelligence was exceptional.
Thus was St. Vitus’ Day (Vidovdan), at the same time, so proudly and humbly remembered in the hearts and minds of the Serbs in america.
These were our predecessors in Serbian Orthodoxy and true sons of St. Sava... They are re- membered!
Archimandrite Dositej Obradović
St. Vitus’ Day (Vidovdan)

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