Since I spoke about holidays and religious practices, this is the time to mention an important day of Vidovdan, an important date when lots of things happened for Serbs. On 28th June 1389, mideaval times, Moravian Tsar Lazar and his retinue met Ottoman Sultan Murat in Kosovo in a decisive battle that changed history. A Serbian smaller force with help of European knights and lords stood at the pivotal point of history, stood their ground against the imperialistic plans of the newly formed host in the eastern region, and stood and protected the gates of Europe. Soon after the cannonade, the lines clashed. At some point during the pitched battle, the Serbian left-wing disengaged and retreated, leaving the main force at its’ destiny. The opposing forces surrounded the smaller Serbian army and began destroying it. From the mist of war, ten knights emerged, hacking down the enemy as they rode for the Sultan’s tent barely visible in the distance. One by one, they fell until the last one, a Serb called Miloš Obilić continued to ride, his goal clear, his horse gnashing in speed. As the Serbian leader died in battle, a Serbian knight reached the tent, found the Sultan, and stuck a dagger, killing the Sultan. Both Tsar Lazar and Miloš are venerated as saints in the Serbian Orthodox Church. Even though the battle was a loss for the Serbs, the impact was more important for European freedom than anything else. It postponed an Ottoman invasion for a decade, giving time to European Kingdoms to rally up their forces and prepare for a prolonged war. But, Serbia was lost, and the Ottomans used it as a client state, subdued and enslaved Serbs, and used their children as an elite slave force called Janissaries (Janjičar – Janje – lamb, Lamb Soldier). As a punishment for defying the Ottomans, 28th was used as a grim reminder that Serbs will bleed on that day, and Vidovdan became a taxation date when impoverished slaves, if not paying taxes in gold, shall pay it in blood and their family members shall fall to slick sabers instead. And that lasted for 500 years until the First Balkan War when Serbia finally fought for its independence and became a Kingdom.
On this day, former president Slobodan Milošević was extradited to the war crime court of justice in Hague for impending war crime trials regarding the Kosovo war in 1999. He died some years later during the trials due to illness, never seeing the verdict or punishment for his actions. Some consider him a reasonable man who protected his country, stood against the American imperialism, stood and protected his country as he should, and some find him a criminal for letting the war happen, a fool that didn’t bow to the requests of foreign powers, a blood-thirsty monster that ruined Serbia and caused the collapse of Yugoslavia.
Church sees this date as a celebration of an all-seeing element, the day of seers, a date when all truth comes out in its’ glory, shines from the sky, and blesses those that wander in the dark. It’s a day of spirituality, of looking, and seeing, and knowing that you are a person in this world, able to see, able to learn, and grow in tranquility and peace with other people around you.
This day, it is very important and so many things happened on this date in history, it’s impossible to count them all, so I just listed a few things Serbs usually know it for. For many, this is a religious holiday, and for some, a path through events in ancient times, and for some, it’s just a date, no more important than the rest of them, and yet, some people celebrate their birthdays on this date. No, not mine, not yet, but my nephew’s.