In Sweden Vasilica is primarily celebrated by Roma who have come to Sweden from the Balkans. The purpose of this tradition includes wishing people good health and success for the year ahead.

Location: Nation wide


Photo: Stambolka Demirovic.

According to tradition, this is related to who comes to visit. The person who visits the family just before midnight on 13 January is called Polaznko.

The celebrations begin with a shared dinner. The main course is goose with stuffed cabbage leaves, followed by various deserts including baklava. During the shared dinner, it is usual for candles to be lit and prayers said. The custom varies depending on where you are from. Among Serbian Roma, the custom is primarily linked to Saint Basil of Ostrog for whom a candle is lit and to whom a prayer for happiness and success is directed. The celebrations continue for the following month and end with a farewell party that begins with the lighting of a candle.

The tradition is generally associated with happiness, gratitude and joy. Children learn how to celebrate Vasilica at an early age and get to help out at home with all the preparations. The traditions have changed over time and nowadays the celebrations are in memory of Saint Basil of Ostrog.

Vasilica has not yet been documented and there is very little information about it online. The tradition is primarily passed on through older people teaching younger people about it. Today, many young people receive information about traditions through the mother tongue teaching in school.