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Sovereignty Day of Serbia – February 15, 2023

Sovereignty Day of Serbia is observed on February 15 every year. Also referred to as Statehood Day, it is a two-day long celebration considered National Day in Serbia. Sovereignty Day of Serbia marks the first Serbian Uprising in 1804, alongside the first Serbian Constitution in 1835. If the day falls on a weekend, a weekday is usually given in its stead, and the holiday was observed for the very first time in 2001. On this day, citizens believe that the weather may indicate the harshness of the final days of winter.

History of Sovereignty Day of Serbia

The Republic of Serbia is a country in Southeast Europe. It borders Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. The land was first inhabited in the Paleolithic, at least 525,000 years ago. During the Neolithic, the Starcevo and Vinca cultures resided in what is known today as Belgrade. During the Middle Ages, White Serbs settled the area between the Sava river and the Dinaric Alps. And by the mid-ninth century, Serbia had undergone Christianization.

By the time half of the 15th century had passed, most of the area in modern-day Serbia was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, whilst the rest was controlled by the Austro-Hungarian Habsburgs. In 1804, Serbia was controlled by the Dahijas, a section of Ottoman troops. They feared returning full control of the region to the main Ottoman Empire, and thus executed 70 Serb nobles, which later came to be known as the ‘Slaughter of the Dukes’ or ‘Slaughter of the Knezes.’ This led to the beginning of the first Serbian uprising on February 14 — the uprising was initially supported by the Ottomans, but they retracted their support in the face of demands for greater autonomy. The Serbians fought back and formed a government by 1805.

The Serbians were subjugated again by the Ottomans in 1813, following the Russo-Turkish War. Another uprising began in 1815 and went on for about two years. As a result, Serbia was granted the status of a Principality. On February 15, 1835, Serbia adopted its first-ever Constitution, in addition to establishing a National Parliament and abolishing feudalism and serfdom. The Constitution was ultimately repealed in April of the same year. The last Turkish troops left Serbia in 1867.

Sovereignty Day of Serbia timeline

Mid-9th century
Christianization

Serbia is Christianized.

1804
Slaughter of the Dukes

The Dahijas kill about 70 Serb nobles.

1813
Second Conquest of Serbia

The Ottomans conquer Serbia again.

February 15, 1835
Serbian Constitution

Serbia adopts its first Constitution.

Sovereignty Day of Serbia FAQs

How many citizens does Serbia have?

Currently, Serbia has around seven million citizens.

Is Serbia a free country?

It is a sovereign nation.

What is Serbia's religion?

The majority of citizens considered themselves Eastern Orthodox, followed by Catholicism and Muslim.

How to Observe Sovereignty Day of Serbia

  1. Read about Serbian history

    Serbia has a fascinating history. Spend the day reading up on it and get informed.

  2. Try Serbian cuisine

    Honor Serbian culture by giving its cultural cuisine a try. You can look for a restaurant near you or try to cook a traditional recipe!

  3. Visit Serbia

    If it’s within your means, visit Serbia to witness the holiday festivities in person. You can add historical locations to your travel plans to enjoy the day to the fullest.

5 Interesting Facts About Serbia

  1. A birthplace

    Serbia was the birthplace of at least 17 Roman emperors.

  2. Raspberries

    Serbia is one of the largest exporters of raspberries.

  3. Undead etymology

    The word ‘vampire’ likely comes from the Serbian word ‘Vampir.’

  4. Ic

    Most Serbian names end with the suffix ‘ić.’

  5. Folk dance

    'Kolo' is an old traditional folk dance and a huge part of Serbian culture.

Why Sovereignty Day of Serbia is Important

  1. It highlights Serbian history

    Serbia has a very interesting history. Sovereignty Day of Serbia is a celebration of it.

  2. It highlights the independence struggle of the Serbian people

    Sovereignty Day of Serbia is a day that commemorates the independence struggle and every Serbian who fought for their sovereignty. It is very important to take a moment to remember the people who made history.

  3. It highlights nationalist aspirations

    Sovereignty Day of Serbia was a product of the nationalist aspiration of Serbs. The celebration of this holiday honors those sentiments.

Sovereignty Day of Serbia dates

YearDateDay
2023February 15Wednesday
2024February 15Thursday
2025February 15Saturday
2026February 15Sunday
2027February 15Monday

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