History of New Year decorations

New Year decorations have been adorning the streets of Belgrade for years and they announce the most joyful period of the year, both for the youngest and oldest ones.About a month before New Year's Ev

History of New Year decorations

About a month before New Year's Eve 2020, the New Year's tree was erected and decorated on Belgrade's Republic Square, and just before that, the New Year's lighting decoration was lit. This luxury that many European cities would envy marked the beginning of a new year and an ending of an old one. Alongside the decorated Central Square tree, there were, as always, charming cottages and stalls selling various sweets and New Year's confectionery. Other ornaments such as carriages and gifts were also installed, intended primarily for photographing visitors.

Decorating city streets and squares is a modern tradition, though. What preceded this custom is certainly decoration of a New Year tree in our homes. All around the world, it is a favourite activity especially in family circles, to decorate a tree that would adorn the home in the days before, as well as for the New Year's Eve itself. Similarly to many other traditions, in this case we still don’t know exactly where the custom of decorating the tree came from. There is a story, from Russian tradition, that tells that on the night of Christ's birth there were three evergreen trees in front of the cave - Cedar, Pine and Fir. The trees also wanted to gift the new-born baby. The Cedar dropped scented needles in front of the cave, while Pine gave away some beautiful cones. The Fir had no fruit to bestow on Jesus, so she wept inconsolably. Feeling sorry for her, the angel lowered down the star for her that she could give away as well. Hence, the top of Fir tree is usually decorated with a star or an angel.

What’s in the historic accounts, though?

The custom of decorating forest trees outside our homes and on frequent occasions was common to many pagan nations. In the sixteenth century, it was recorded that in Germany people would bring the evergreen trees into their homes and decorate them with apples, nuts and cakes at Christmas. The decoration of the trees with fruits and edible ornaments was later replaced by decorative decoration with various objects. Placing candles on Fir trees was introduced by Martin Luther, who was delighted by the shining of the stars on the sky, glowing through the canopy of trees in the forest.


The custom of decorating Christmas trees or fir trees in Serbia came to life in the second half of the nineteenth century, first in Vojvodina and in urban areas, and later in other parts of the country. The custom originated from European countries, especially from Germany. Of course, decorating the Fir tree was initially a custom done by wealthier families. The founder of a kindergarten in Subotica set out to decorate a large Christmas tree in December 1859, much to the delight of the rest of the population and, above all, the children whose families did not celebrate Christmas or New Year's Eve in this way.

The culture of Christmas and New Year tree decorations has spread in many countries, most notably in Europe and America. The use of trees from nature, as was the tradition at the beginning, proved harmful to vegetation, so people started growing the trees for this purpose only, and the trees are purchased with the root and returned afterwards and planted again in the soil. However, many opt for the artificial wood variant, which can be used for many years. Decorative single or multi-coloured balls, candles, ribbons and the obligatory star, or angel on top, will be seen this December in the homes of many of us, but also in many Belgrade streets.

Novi apartmani is inviting you to visit the Serbian capital during the New Year holidays and enjoy the festive and merry atmosphere in this joyful and welcoming city of Belgrade.

If you’re really planning to visit Belgrade, make sure you book some comfortable accommodation on time, as capacities are limited in this time of year. Check out the web site of Novi apartmani and book the apartment you find most appealing.

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