Serbs are in a festive mood and ready to spend despite economic problems

The lights used to be there from October, but this year Belgrade received its Christmas lights in mid-December, and they will only stay on for one month in the city center.

However, the High Street is in a festive mood as people go shopping. Despite the world’s crises, not many here are thinking about saving.

“I’m buying, I have to buy, as much as possible,” said one shopper.

“We saved up all month so we could buy presents for the New Year, for the kids, for everyone else,” said another.

Prices have risen more than ever in recent months, and economists have warned that now is not the time to spend.

“For several reasons, we should reduce and be careful what we are buying,” said economics professor Ljubodrag Savić.

“First, we are overweight as a nation and it wouldn’t hurt to eat less. Second, this is not the time to spend, this is the time to save.

“A smart man, they say, saves money when he has it, but this is not the case with the Serbs.”

Regardless of how much money they have, Serbs traditionally go out on New Year’s Eve and spend between 30 and 400 euros. Live music is a must in all restaurants and trumpet players come at midnight.

“We are almost completely sold out,” said Milica Petković of Tri Hats restaurant.

“Our guests are from all over the world. It’s proof that you don’t have to speak every language. Everyone here gets along great with our music, good service and of course good food.”

For those who don’t have the money to go out to restaurants, the city of Belgrade offers an outdoor party on two stages, with nine famous singers and DJs performing.

For more, watch the Euronews report in the video above.

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