Get to know Croatian Easter customs and traditions

Easter, the biggest Catholic holiday is celebrated all over the world in March or April, but always on a Sunday. It all starts with Lent, a preparation for Easter that lasts 40 days, and the Sunday before Easter we celebrate the Palm Sunday that also marks the beginning of the Holy Week that follows. In Croatia, same as the rest of the world, there are different symbols linked to Easter, and the most famous are Easter eggs, but we cannot forget the cute chickens, bunnies, sweet Easter cake as well as many other delicious treats that come into focus during Easter holidays.

While the Holy Friday is a fast and you can enjoy the delicious seafood, Holy Saturday, the day before Easter is mostly reserved for the traditional food preparation that differs from one region to another, but there are still many similarities and every seaside dish is filled with delicious traditional ingredients made by hardworking hands of our mothers and grandmothers.

The tradition we all look forward to, mostly the youngest, is decorating the Easter eggs. In the early times they were decorated by the so called natural colouring such as shells or peels of red beet, red onion, spinach, purple cabbage and other, cooking the eggs in coffee grinds as well as decorating with herbs and teas in order to achieve colourful decorations. Before the dining itself, the tradition orders to have the food taken to church for the blessing.

The best part of Easter day is the family lunch gathering, when many tables are adorned by cooked ham, aromatic Easter cake and braid, green onions and the main course that is usually a meat dish (chicken, turkey or lamb) while at the seaside sometimes delicious white fish is served.

In the early times the tradition included lighting the Easter bonfire which was a special event of the village gathering, there was singing and treats along the bonfire that symbolizes the light. All over Croatia one of the highlights was making musical instruments such as rattles and on the island of Krk the instrument was made by tying metal plates to a wooden board, hanging loosely, that created noise when jiggled.

Although this year’s Easter holidays won’t be as we are normally used to, let’s not forget the most important thing, which is spending time with family and your loved ones, because that is the most beautiful tradition there is and must never be forgotten!

Happy Easter dear friends, colleagues and guests!