Bosnians celebrate a number religious, national and family holidays, some of which vary between religions. However, because of intermarriage and long association, Bosnians commonly also celebrate the holidays of other faiths with their relatives and friends.
Many traditions are associated with New Yearís celebrations, including parties at home with special meals and table settings. Children receive presents, perhaps things from the wish list they had placed under their pillows a few days before. On the stroke of midnight, fireworks are lit.
Muslim holidays are based on the lunar calendar, so fall on different dates each year. The most important annual event is the holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. The end of Ramadan is marked by the Eid, a day for feasting and helping the less fortunate. People visit family and friends to exchange small gifts, and the minarets of mosques are decorated with electric lights. Other important Muslim holidays include Mohammedís birthday and the Feast of the Sacrifice of Abraham.
Catholic and Orthodox Bosnians celebrate Easter and Christmas on different dates because the Orthodox Church follows an older calendar. Traditionally, people decorate Christmas trees on Christmas Eve, while Christmas Day is spent feasting with family and friends. Easter is a day for social celebrations and decorating eggs, which are a symbol of new life. A special event for Orthodox families is the slava. Each family has its own saint, who is believed to offer protection; the slava is an annual celebration of the saintís name day.
All people in Bosnia and Herzegovina participate in public holidays that celebrate nationhood and historical events. These include Labour Day, Victory (V.E.) Day, Independence Day and National Statehood Day. April 15 is the Day of the Army, traditionally the day when young men left for their compulsory military service.