Serbs and Montenegrins, although they are two branches of the same ethnic group, differ markedly from each other in character and attitude. The tragic fate of the Balkan land, which from time immemorial served as a bait for all kinds of aggressors and invaders, left an indelible mark on the character of these peoples, which is easily traced even today. Montenegrins are very proud and independent, while surprisingly peaceful and tolerant of all manifestations of other cultures. Here you will not see interethnic hostility, recent political crises and wars have not touched this fertile land at all, no one cheats in the store and does not shortchange in the market (although Montenegrins love and know how to bargain), respect for any faith and beliefs is clearly visible, and there is absolutely no craving to the “beautiful life”. The two most important strongholds of local morality are “cojstvo” and ” than Montenegrins. However, in order to notice these features, one will probably have to come here with a clear prejudice towards the Serbian people, who have been so zealously supported in recent times in the West. The fate of the Serbs is tragic and heroic at the same time. Suffice it to say that not a single war that has swept across the European continent over the past two millennia has bypassed this small country, several times smaller than, for example, Switzerland, which has not been at war with anyone for 600 years.
Therefore, one should not be surprised that the inhabitants of Serbia are, indeed, ardent nationalists, and do not hide it. However, their nationalism is not at all the same as in some places they are used to describing in terrible propaganda about the Balkan wars. This is a healthy and long-suffering feeling of national self-sufficiency, pride in one’s history and the deeds of one’s ancestors, as well as bitterness for the centuries-old genocide of the Serbs and the narrow-mindedness of some politicians, including their own, Serbian ones. But in general, this is the same hospitable and open people, like most of the South Slavic tribes. Serbs also sacredly honor their culture, like Montenegrins, for centuries they have relied on the main stronghold of their nation – the Serbian Orthodox Church, they also love to set the table, receive guests and organize all kinds of festivities, eat the same dishes and even speak almost the same language, like the rest of the peoples of the former Yugoslavia. Even young Serbs know the history of their country at the level of a professional historian, and excursions to memorable places will be carried out no worse than an experienced guide. Here they are tired of the war and will happily discuss the views of the harvest or sports, gossip about their personal lives or criticize the weather, however, it is not worth talking about politics or the last Balkan war here – these events are too fresh in the memory of local residents. Relations with other peoples of the former Yugoslavia, despite the active process of reconciliation, still remain difficult – in almost every family, someone died in that war, more than 30% of the population lost their homes and were forced to live in other people’s houses, Serbian shrines, and the situation in UN-controlled Kosovo is still extremely tense. In Serbia and Montenegro, there is quite a lot of respect for Russians and residents of the countries of the former USSR, who are welcome guests almost everywhere. There is nothing ostentatious in this – for the most part, this is how they treat all foreign tourists, however, the centuries-old connection between our peoples has not faded from the memory of people here, although it is somewhat “blurred” events of recent years.
According to Shoe-Wiki, the almost complete absence of a language barrier contributes to this – Serbo-Croatian, although very remotely similar to Russian, is nevertheless united in its linguistic basis and graphics, and the abundance of people who know Russian “from the old days” evens out this difference. However, young people, as elsewhere, prefer to study Western European languages. Although the English language is used almost everywhere, especially in trade and the resort business, it is not very popular among the population for political reasons, especially in Serbia – German or French is preferred here. Any phrase in Russian will arouse the liveliest interest of local residents here, and knowledge of several of the most common local words almost completely erases the boundaries between tourists and hosts. When meeting the locals, regardless of religion, they greet each other in a European way – with a handshake. In some southern regions, hugs and kisses are allowed when meeting well-known people, but this is unacceptable with strangers. When visiting someone’s home, small gifts are common. The ability to speak and carry on a conversation is highly valued by the locals. Lengthy dialogues at any table, be it a street cafe or a private house, can be seen everywhere. The attitude to clothing is quite informal, European dress is accepted everywhere, but tracksuits are unlikely to cause understanding in restaurants and cafes. People in “inappropriate” form are simply not allowed in most restaurants, and even more so – at official events. Evening wear is rather informal, but conservative, and is based on local traditions. For a foreigner, compliance with local dress codes for such cases is not at all necessary – it is enough to have long trousers or a dress, as well as a shirt or blouse in a classic style (in some cases, a jacket). Most of the country’s inhabitants are heavy smokers. Even in public transport and in public places you can always meet smokers. Also, noisy companies diligently engaged in libation are not uncommon, but drunkenness among the locals is a rare phenomenon.
- January 1 and 2 – New Year
- January 6 and 7 – Orthodox Christmas
- April 27 – Statehood Day
- April-May – Orthodox Easter
- May 1-2 – Labor Day
- May 9 – Victory Day
- July 4 – Partisan Day
- July 7 (in Serbia), July 13 (in Montenegro) – Uprising Day
- November 29-30 – Days of the Republic
If the holiday falls on Sunday or Saturday, then the following Monday and Tuesday are also considered non-working.