New Rituals Out of an Old One: The Slava among Serbian Immigrants in Sweden

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
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Slava or Krsna lava is the Serbian Orthodox celebration of a family’s patron saint on a given day of the year. During the decades of Socialist Yugoslavia (1943–1992), it was confined to the private sphere only. Since the 1960s, there is a sizeable group of Yugoslav or Serbian immigrants in Sweden, and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Sweden claims 40,000 members. The article is based on eleven semi-structured interviews with immigrants who have started celebrating the Slava in Sweden. We identified four frames of interpretation used in order to provide the ritual with meaning: Orthodoxy, family, ethnicity, and local community. A closer discussion of three cases illustrates different ways of finding a balance between Slava’s possible meanings. The ways of celebrating display individual variation and varying influence of the culture and values of the host society.

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