Christmas in Croatia
The Christmas tradition in Croatia, as in any Catholic country, begins 4 weeks before Christmas.
It’s the time when each family create is own Advent wreath.
The Advent wreath is made of a circle of evergreen branches shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize eternal life. Four candles (traditionally red) stand in the circle and each one represents one of the four Sundays of Advent. A candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday during the season of Advent
We decorate as well a Christmas tree and realize a Christmas crib surrounded by moss.
Of course Santa Claus brings gifts to children on Christmas Day.
But in Continental Croatia the tradition wants that Saint Nicholas brings as well presents on December 6th.
On the coast Saint Lucy is the one who brings presents on December 13th.
Children then place a shoe on their window (they have to clean it first) and discover their gift in the morning. They usually receive a small present like candies.
So in Croatia children receive presents first by one of these two saints, and by Santa Claus on the 25th.
On the day of Saint Lucy we also plant wheat in small pots, it will reach its full growth by Christmas and will be a sign of prosperity for the coming year.
On Christmas Eve people in Croatia do not eat meat. We prepare fish and in general dried cod in a white wine sauce or with potatoes, garlic and olive oil.
In the evening its a tradition to attend the Midnight Mass.
We eat some meat on Christmas’ day on the 25th. Depending on the region where we are we eat turkey with Mlinci (it’s a kind of pasta, a specialty from the region of Zagreb), pašticada (beef cooked in red wine) or sarmas (sour cabbage leaves filled with ground meat).
For dessert we make cakes with walnuts, figs or carob. We also realize famous fritule (small donuts), paprenjaci (black pepper cookies) and medenjaci (honey cookies).
In Croatian Merry Christmas is Sretan Božić…
Merry Christmas!!! – Sretan Božić!!!