Serbians are in a festive mood and ready to spend despite economy woes

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By Natasha Jovanovic
Festive lights in Belgrade
Festive lights in Belgrade   -   Copyright  Euronews Serbia

There used to be lights from as early as October, but this year Belgrade got its Christmas illuminations in mid-December, and they will stay on for just a month in the city centre.

Nevertheless, the high street is in a festive mood as people go about their shopping. Despite the world's crises, not many here are thinking about saving.

"I'm buying, I have to buy, as much as possible," one shopper said.

"We saved all month so we can buy presents for the New Year, for the children, for everyone else," another said. 

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

"For several reasons, we should cut back and take good care of what we're buying," economics professor Ljubodrag Savić said. 

"Firstly we are overweight as a nation and it wouldn't harm to eat less. Secondly, this isn't the time to spend, it's the time to save. 

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

Regardless of how much money they have, Serbs traditionally go out on New Year's Eve, spending anything from €30 to €400. Live music is a must in all restaurants and trumpeters come around at midnight.

"We're almost completely sold out," Milica Petković from the Tri Hats Restaurant said. 

"Our guests are from all over the world. It's proof you don't have to speak every language. Here everyone gets along great with our music, good service, and of course good food."

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

For more watch Euronews' report in the video above.