Xmas Specials

Over time, holidays change their appearance. In the past, customs and surprises meant good wishes for the following year giving attention to communal abundance, love, and health. Times and traditions have changed, but high spirits and feelings of togetherness stayed the same. The essentials stay. We visit people, socialize, spend time with family and friends, prepare and share food with others, remember those who are far away and give our attention to those who are not.


Living close to family and relatives makes it easier to save the tradition. Hence there are still a few places in Croatia where the customs were passed down through generations and are still alive. Let’s take an example, hosting “polužari” - the first guests who enter the house on Xmas morning. They present the nature of the upcoming year, so they should be strong, healthy, and in good luck. Sometimes, arranging the right person was considered a way of making your luck. Eating an apple covered with honey will always get you back home safely. The custom of koledanje (caroling) is also less present than in the past. The celebrants, usually men, go from house to house and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Christmas songs accompanied by a mandolin or guitar brighten an already beautiful atmosphere, and the hosts treat them with homemade products. The traces of this custom go back to the 13th century described in the Statue of the Republic of Dubrovnik. In this area, practicing this custom is preserved to this day. Even if it’s only kept alive in a few places, telling stories about traditions can be an equally valuable inheritance. In many parts of Croatia, the praxis was to light a Christmas tree stump. In some areas three stumps.  After he gives a blessing, the head of the house brings an old olive stump inside the house and sets it on fire. The stump had to smoke for good yield until the Holy Three Kings. At the end of the 19th century, the Christmas tree replaced the tree stump.




Customs and traditions change a lot. More people live in the cities and have less time for food preparation and big gatherings. Also, the city’s offer is rather big because there are many places where families can join afternoon picnics, live shows, and performances, try festive sweets and enjoy mulled wine :) 


Xmas customs that remained among most Croatians denote significant dates starting with advent. This day, and the following four Sundays, catholic families gather around the advent wreath to light the candle. St. Nicholas day is one of the children’s favorites, as the protector of children and sailors takes care they get sweets packed in little boots if they were good throughout the year. After a week, on St. Lucy’s day, Christmas wheat is sown for new life and abundance in the following year. On Christmas Day, we gather around food - fish, most often cod, sarma, and other lean dishes.  Traditional sweets and cakes like fritule, paprenjaci, or smokvenjak are on every table, where everyone discusses recipes in detail. The same day is for decorating the Christmas tree and preparing presents for loved ones. 




This year, Christmas is special for Croatians, as for many other countries in the world. Known as great sportsmen and football lovers, this year Croatians enjoyed Xmas period in the unique atmosphere of the World Cup 2022. We enjoyed the festivities and supported our team with our whole hearts. Did you know the Croatian supporters club Hajduk is the oldest established in Europe, already in 1911? This tradition comes naturally to us, so it seems the timing was good. It’s time when we gather, share, and celebrate. We enjoy visiting Christmas events and discussing the game over a drink and tasty food found on every corner.

The Christmas Cup probably won't become a tradition, but it will be a beautiful memory. This year we won a bronze, which makes it the second championship in a row we won a medal. Since 1998, we are proud of three World cup medals, but, let’s talk more about this some other time. 


Merry Xmas & Happy Holidays!