About St. Vitus' Day
When is St. Vitus' day?
St. Vitus' Day (Serbian: Vidovdan) is celebrated on June 28th. It marks a 14th-century battle that has become an important part of Serb ethnic and national identity. Vidovdan is celebrated as a slava (feast day) in Serbia, though it is a working day.
The Serbian Orthodox Church designates it as a memorial day to Saint Prince Lazar and the Serbian holy martyrs who fell during the Battle of Kosovo against the Ottoman Empire in 1389.
History of St. Vitus' Day
Saint Vitus was a Christian saint from Sicily. He died as a martyr during the persecution of Christians by co-ruling Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian in 303.
In the late Middle Ages, people in Germany celebrated the feast of Vitus by dancing before his statue. This dancing became popular and the name "Saint Vitus Dance" was given to the neurological disorder Sydenham's chorea.
The Battle of Kosovo took place on St. Vitus' Day (June 15th in the Julian calendar) 1389 between an army led by the Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović and an invading army of the Ottoman Empire.
While the Ottomans suffered huge losses, they eliminated all of Prince Lazar's forces. This led to Ottoman control in the region which lasted for several centuries.
The Ottoman Sultan Murat was killed by Serbian knights in the Battle of Kosovo. It is the only battle in the entire Ottoman-Turkish history in which they lost their ruler.
The battle has become a significant cornerstone in the national identity of Serbia.