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Serb in Switzerland


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
63,000 Serbian Christianity 80.00 % 0.60 %   

Serb in Switzerland

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Introduction / History
The Serbs are a southern Slavic people who received strong cultural influence from the Ottoman Turks. They came from the coast of the Black Sea to the Balkans and north of the Danube River between Dniepar and the northeast Carpathian Mountains. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was formed in 1918 and its name was changed to Yugoslavia in 1929.

The unraveling of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s resulted in the formation of the Independent Republics of Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia in 1991. Bosnia-Hercegovina was formed in 1992, while Serbia and Montenegro remained as the new Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Its leader, Slobodan Milsosevic tried to unite the neighboring republics into a "Greater Serbia" but this effort failed, and Milosevic was ousted by his own people in October 2000. Other peacekeepers were arrested and tried for crimes against humanity. The two latter republics formed a loose union in 2002, called Serbia and Montenegro.

Many Montenegrins regard themselves as Serbs, but others insist that Montenegrin is a separate ethnic identity.

What are their lives like?
Until the 19th century, virtually all Serbs were peasants and lived with extended families in villages. Nowadays, most Serbs live in cities and have well developed local government. The Serbs are a still a highly family-oriented society. They have a rich vocabulary for family relationships, even up to the 15th level of the genealogical tree.

Their folk attire varies due to very diverse geography and climate of the territory they inhabit. A traditional shoe called opanak is recognizable by its tips that spiral backward. The traditional hat called sajkaca is recognizable by its top part that looks like the letter V or like the bottom of a boat, and is still worn by some villagers today.

Customs that surround Serbian weddings are still observed, including a circle dance called kolo, where dancers hold each other by the hands or around the waist, dancing in a circle. The Serbs believe this dance symbolizes the sun.

Serbs have their own customs regarding Christmas. These are not associated so much with presents, as in the West, but in special foods and rituals. On Christmas Eve morning, the head of the family goes into the forest to cut a young oak tree, which is to be brought into the church to be blessed by the priest. The oak tree is stripped of its branches, and combined with wheat and other grains, is burned in the fireplace (considered a sacrifice to the gods so the coming year would produce much food, happiness, love, luck, and riches). For city dwellers the church now provides the oak branches and grains.

A traditional Serb Christmas custom is to cover the floors of homes and churches with hay, reminding the family of the stable where Jesus Christ was born. Christmas day is celebrated with a feast, featuring a roasted piglet as the main meal. Sweet cakes made of wheat, called koljivo are consumed as a ritual. Cesnica, a special kind of bread, contains a coin, and the one who finds the coin when the bread is broken at lunch believes that he or she will have an especially happy year. Gifts are given to family and friends on Saint Nicholas Day.

What are their beliefs?
Most Serbs are non-religious or Orthodox Christians who follow the Serbian Orthodox Church. Thus a change from one religion to the other implies a change of ethnicity as well. The Serbs converted from traditional Slavic beliefs in several waves between the seventh and ninth centuries. Some folkloric and traditional beliefs persist to this day, such as belief in fairies, witches, and vampires. Food and drink are offered to the dead on certain feast days.

Of all the Slavs and Orthodox Christians, only Serbs have the custom of Slava, or the celebration of the patron saint of the family, their personal protector. A slava is inherited from father to son, and each household may only have one (there are about 150 patron saints). This means that the occasion brings all of the family together for three days of celebration, ritual dishes, folk oratory, and singing. Guilds are formed by families having the same patron saint.

What are their needs?
Although many Serbs have heard the name of God, they have become disillusioned with religion.

Prayer Points
Ask the Lord to help Serb Christians and church planters to use holidays like Christmas to share the story of Jesus and His love for Serbs.
Pray that Serbs would become dissatisfied with religiosity and would instead seek a relationship with their Savior, Jesus Christ.

View Serb in all countries.

Prayer Links
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Country: Switzerland
Continent: Europe
Region: Europe, Western
10/40 Window: No
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Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Serb
People Name General: Serb
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 108856
Joshua Project People ID: 14864
Indigenous: No
Population in Country: 63,000
Population all Countries: 8,546,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: Eurasian Peoples
People Cluster: Slav, Southern
People Name General: Serb
Ethnic Code: CEW22a
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Serbian (63,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): srp    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Christianity
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity80.00 %(Evangelical: 0.60 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam16.00 % 
Non-Religious4.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Evangelicals have a larger relative representation among all who claim to be Christians.
Least-Reached: No
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1564-1992
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1804-2015
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture / Bible
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Serbian
Film / VideoLove letter to you from scripture
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoRivka video
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralBiblical answers to your questions
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGospel resources links
Text / Printed MatterChildren and youth resources
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterTools for faith conversations
Text / Printed MatterTopical Scripture booklets and Bible stu ...
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Serb in Switzerland

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Slav, Southern     Europe, Western    
      Serb Switzerland    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Serb in Switzerland          
      Religion Language  
      Christianity     Serbian  
    All Religions                              

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