Google Doodle celebrates Serbia’s National Day

15 February marks Serbia’s Statehood Day, Sretenje, celebrating two historical events in the country’s history

Amelia Neath
Thursday 15 February 2024 13:38 GMT
Google Doodle marks the occasion with the Serbian flag
Google Doodle marks the occasion with the Serbian flag (Google Doodle)

Google Doodle is celebrating Serbia’s National Day, also known as Statehood Day or Sovereignty Day on 15 February.

The day, which is called Sretenje, marks two of the nation’s historic events. The Serbian government posted on X that the day is in memory of 15 February 1804, when the First Serbian Uprising began in Orasac, and also the same day in 1835, when the first Serbian constitution was adopted.

The First Serbian Uprising, according to Google Doodle, paved the way for the country’s independence from the Ottoman Empire.

The 1835 constitution, which is also commemorated on this day, “established democracy and aimed to protect human rights,” the Doodle said.

Serbia’s independence from the Ottoman Empire was internationally recognised in 1878, although the United States did not follow suit until 1881 when the country officially recognised the Kingdom of Serbia.

To mark the occasion of these two historic days, official celebrations will last two days. Google Doodle said that government officials will lay wreaths at monuments in order to recognise and honour those who fought to gain Serbia’s sovereignty.

Speeches about Serbia’s history, its present and its future are also included in these celebrations.

Folk tradition also plays a role in the celebrations, according to Doodle, as it is considered the day when winter meets summer. On this day, according to folk belief, bears will emerge from their hibernation spots, meaning winter will end.

However, if the bear sees their shadow, they will retreat back, meaning winter will continue, Google Doodle said. Therefore, many citizens hope for an overcast day so the bear will not encounter their shadow, so summer can commence.

This folklore is further described by the Serbian language learning platform Serbonika, which said that the bear in the folk story is “Mečka Božana”, the mythical sow bear Božana, a pre-Christian goddess.

On this day last year, the US secretary of state Antony Blinken said he congratulated the people of Serbia on their Statehood Day but called on the country to support Ukraine against Russia’s war, adding that the US was a strong supporter of Serbia’s EU ambitions.

Now, a year later, just ahead of its national day, it was reported that Serbia has received another arms delivery from Russia despite the international sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine invasion, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Serbia has been told that if it wants to be able to join the EU, it must comply with the sanctions in place, the outlet said.

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