Slavic languages: Badnjak

Alma Alma

Member
English
How would you translate to different Slavic languages words "Badnjak", "Badnji dan", "Badnje veče". (In English it is mostly Christmas, but I think it is not OK.)
 
  • Saley

    Senior Member
    Russian, Ukrainian
    (In English it is mostly Christmas, but I think it is not OK.)
    The evening before Christmas is called Christmas Eve in English.
    Russian: соче́льник
    Ukrainian: Святи́й ве́чір or Святве́чір
    How would you translate to different Slavic languages words "Badnjak", "Badnji dan", "Badnje veče".
    Burning a tree branch (бадњак) on this day is a Southern Slavic tradition, so there’s no native name for it in other countries.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    Burning a tree branch (бадњак) on this day is a Southern Slavic tradition, so there’s no native name for it in other countries.
    I was about to write the same. :)
    The tradition itself is probably pre-Christian, so referring it to Christmas is not very clear to me. Is this word used for the Christmas Eve in general in Southern Slavic languages?

    Anyway, in Polish Christmas is called Boże Narodzenie, and the day/evening before - Wigilia Bożego Narodzenia or simply Wigilia. But we don't burn trees on that day, as far as I am aware.
     
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    Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    No such thing in Slovenia. I believe badnjak is an Orthodox only tradition. Here, Christmas is called božič and Christmas Eve is either božični večer or more traditionally (prvi) sveti večer.
     

    Alma Alma

    Member
    English
    Бъдник and Бъдни вечер. There's no Бъдни ден.

    In one Serbian text I found: "... 11. decembar 1913 po starom ili na Badnji dan po novom kalendaru ..."
    As I understand, "Badnji dan" in this context is 24th December or "the day before Christmas".
     

    Alma Alma

    Member
    English
    No such thing in Slovenia. I believe badnjak is an Orthodox only tradition. Here, Christmas is called božič and Christmas Eve is either božični večer or more traditionally (prvi) sveti večer.

    If you translate a text to your language you would use "božični večer" or just "Badnjak"?
     

    Panceltic

    Senior Member
    Slovenščina
    If you translate a text to your language you would use "božični večer" or just "Badnjak"?

    I would probably use božični večer. Except if it’s a text explaining the tradition, or something heavily Serbian-oriented, then I would leave it as badnjak, but in italics.
     

    Borin3

    Senior Member
    Serbian
    I'd like to explain few stuff concerning this tradition. "Badnjak" is name of certain tree and only the night before Christmas. The morning of "Badnji dan"(the day before Christmas) is when men cut it before sun light, bring it somewhere hidden from sun and when Christmas morning sun is abt to come out which is the next day(it still needs to be dark), it's put in front of the home. Badnjak is mostly an oak tree, that is "hrast", but if there are no oaks in the area different types of trees can serve a purpose of "badnjak", like conifer ones for example. Once the first/special guest or "polaznik" comes to your home for Christmas they pick a branch of a "badnjak" tree which was in front of your home, bring it to hearth fire(wood fire stove today) and wave it through the fire itself creating sparkles, then wishing your family to have as many great stuff as the number of sparkles there are. An example of a chant would go like "As many sparkles, so much money, as many sparkles so many sheep, as many sparkles so much happiness and health..So, the special guest can change and wish anything he wants.

    "Badnjak" comes from "bdeti"-maintain awake, "budan"-awake. "Member of a family or someone you care about is sick, you try to take care of them, you don't sleep all night so you are performing an action of "bdeti"...When Mary gave birth to Jesus, "badnjak" was heating them, or was taking care of them/protecting them from cold.that is why "badnjak" was also doing the same action of "bdeti"(infinitive) . "Bdeti" over somebody. Stay awake and care for someone all night long, like "badnjak" was after Jesus, Mary and Joseph". According to Christian tradition an oak tree was brought by shepards when Jesus was born and Joseph set it on fire. That is why During "Badnje Veče" "Badnjak" is set on fire as well. So "badnjak" is all abt staying awake all night long before Christmas and during the Christmas itself.
    Burning trees most likely has roots in paganism, a ritual that was not abandoned after Christianisation, but just got adopted into Christian faith and modified a bit. Now ifshepards brought that oak tree we can't know for sure, but the name of "badnjak" seems to have come with Christianity.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    So, if I understand correctly,
    • They go out on Dec 24th (in the church calendar, I undersand) early morning (does not have to be THAT early, it's December after all :)) , go to the forest, cut the tree, and store it in a cellar or somewhere else in the dark
    • On December 25th, also early morning, the tree is placed somewhere in front of the house
    • The first guest who comes to celebrate Christmas - some time by the noon perhaps (?) - takes a branch and does the magic with the fire and the good wishes
    Is it more or less correct?

    Badnjak is mostly an oak tree, that is "hrast"
    Is this "hrast" word a regular word in Serbian, or is it a dedicated word, like "Badnjak" itself? I wonder, because in Polish there is a similar word, "chrust", which refers to brushwood or thin branches of trees and bushes, typically dried, which were collected in woods and used as a fuel for a kitchen fire.
     

    LokiC

    Member
    Serbian
    So, if I understand correctly,
    • They go out on Dec 24th (in the church calendar, I undersand) early morning (does not have to be THAT early, it's December after all :)) , go to the forest, cut the tree, and store it in a cellar or somewhere else in the dark
    • On December 25th, also early morning, the tree is placed somewhere in front of the house
    • The first guest who comes to celebrate Christmas - some time by the noon perhaps (?) - takes a branch and does the magic with the fire and the good wishes
    Is it more or less correct? *

    Is this "hrast" word a regular word in Serbian, or is it a dedicated word, like "Badnjak" itself? I wonder, because in Polish there is a similar word, "chrust", which refers to brushwood or thin branches of trees and bushes, typically dried, which were collected in woods and used as a fuel for a kitchen fire.**
    *Well, the dates are not correct since Serbs are Orthodox - male members of a family go out to the forest early in the morning (yes, THAT early because the tree branch should be cut before the sun comes out ), on January 6th. During the day it is placed in front of the house and in the evening it is burnt, the place where depends on local tradition. Christmas is on January 7th, and again, early in the morning, but this time NOT THAT early (but definitely before noon), a male person usually comes (although recently it doesn't need to be a male person necessarily), but that person is previously "arranged" to come. He/she does the magic with the fire, and then is given a gift - nothing fancy, some fruit or chocolate or symbolic amount of money (again, depends on local tradition).
    **"Hrast
    " is a regular word in Serbian, it's not dedicated word. This is a kind of tree whose leaves dry, but don't fall off during autumn and winter. It is said that it is the reason this tree is picked up for this custom.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    *Well, the dates are not correct since Serbs are Orthodox - male members of a family go out to the forest early in the morning (yes, THAT early because the tree branch should be cut before the sun comes out ), on January 6th.
    Thank you for the detailed explanations.

    Indeed, I've forgotten about the calendar issue. :-( But despite these two weeks, it's still winter, so the nights are quite long and the days are short, which was my point.

    Anyway, with the Badnjak upcoming in a few days -- Merry Christmas. And a Happy New Year for everybody.
     
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    oveka

    Senior Member
    Ukraine, Ukrainian
    Ukrainian:
    Святи́й ве́чір,
    Святве́чір, Багата кутя, Надвечір'я Різдва Христового
     

    nimak

    Senior Member
    Macedonian
    Macedonia

    Christmas Eve (The day before Christmas) = Бадник (Badnik) ['badnik]
    In the morning of the Christmas Eve there is a pre-Christian tradition where children go door to door collecting nuts, fruits, candies, and coins (similar to the Halloween tradition of trick or treating in the USA). This tradition is called Коледе (Kolede) ['kɔlɛdɛ]. Sometimes Коледе is used to name that day, alongside with Бадник.

    Christmas = Божик (Božik) ['bɔʒik] or Божиќ (Božiḱ) ['bɔʒic]
     
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