Serbia is a country located at the Balkans region in SE Europe. The eight countries which border Serbia are Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Hungary. The Balkan mountains, Dinaric Alps, Carpathian mountains, Rhodope mountains cover parts of Serbia. The Danube River is the longest river located northern Serbia, and is also a famous tourist attraction. Other main rivers in this country include the Sava, Drina, Morava, and Tisa rivers. Almost all rivers in Serbia drain into the Black Sea. The capital of Serbia, the City of Belgrade, is the most populated city. The majority of the population speaks Serbian, the country’s official language. Serbian and Croatian are nearly identical except, the Serbian language is written using the Russian alphabet, while the Croatian language uses the Roman alphabet. The people living in Serbia are known as “Serbs” which literally means “same people”. The rest of the population, mainly in the southern province of Kosovo, speak Albanian. Orthodox Christians form the majority of the country’s population. Large numbers of Muslims are also found throughout Serbia. No official religion exists in Serbia. However, the members of the Orthodox church are favored. The Serbian Orthodox tradition is very unique. Unlike other Christian countries, Serbs were neither baptized as a nation nor as individuals. The Serbs were baptized as families. Every year, Serbs celebrate “Krisna Slava”, which is held on Saint’s Day. On this day, the paternal patron saints in each Orthodox family, belonging to the father’s side of the family, are honored. A candle is lit in the honor of the saint. Special food items along with “kolac”, round bread, are eaten. The priest goes to each home to bless the kolac with holy water sanctifying it. The family and priest, then sing special songs forming a circle around the kolac. Families are the foundation of the ceremonial baptism performed in Serbia. The patron saint or the founder of the family is honored by the entire family, a tradition which continues across each generation. So, in the naming tradition, more importance is attached to the founders of the family than the actual parents of the child or the children themselves. A child aged 7 – 10 years, often bears a “substitution name”, like the name Nielum meaning “not loved”. The purpose of substitution naming is thought to reduce any undesirable attraction towards the child, or it may also serve to protect the child from evil powers. In pre-Christian times, the child fatality rate was extremely high, and may offer some explanation as to why this practice began. If a child survived past 10 years of age, a new adult name would be given during the child’s first haircut. These traditional names were found prior to the conversion of the Slavic nations into Christianity. Most Serbian first names have Slavic origins, like the names Slobodan meaning “freedom”, Milan meaning “kind, loving & gracious”, Vladimir meaning “to rule with greatness”. Also, dithematic naming practices, as in Bogmil ( Bog – God, Mil – Dear ), Bogdan ( Bog – God, Dan – Given )were used, referring to God. Non – Slavic names are also chosen for babies, reflecting Christian faith originating from the Hebrew culture, or as contained in the Bible. For example Jovan is derived from Hebrew name Yochanan meaning, “Yahweh is merciful”. Many names among Christian Serbs are non-Slavic having Greek or Latin roots. For example, the name “Aleksandar” comes from the Greek name “Aléxandros”, and the name Pavlo originating from Latin, is equivalent to Paul in English. Common surnames are spread among most Serbs and extended to non-related families. The suffix -i? is found in most Serbian surnames, creating patronyms. For instance, the son of Petra receives the surname Petrovi?.  Petrovi?, Popovi?, Nikoli?, and Jovanovi? are common surnames in Serbia. Most surnames are derived from a person’s characteristics, occupation, or derived from parental names. The phonetic endings -ich or -itch are typically transcribed for Serbian names. Milan Milankovi? is referred to as Milan Milankovitch for Western historical reasons. In the Western culture, the usual Serbian name consists of a first name or given name followed by the surname, which is also the family name. While recording names in legal documents which contain multiple names, the last name is written in all capital letters, as in the name, JOVANOVI? Pavlo. This is a familiar practice in the Eastern regions of Serbia. A woman inherits her husband’s family name after marriage. However, she can choose whether or not to change it. She also has the liberty to keep both last names after marriage. Popular Serbian Names for Boys : Nikola – Victory of the people Dragomir – Precious and Peaceful Luka – Harbor Vuk – Wolf Andrija – Manly, Warrior Popular Serbian Names for Girls : Jasna – Clear Milica – Gracious Nada – Hope Srebenka – Silver Namera – Intention