Happy Holidays!!

Two Christmas gnomes in the middle of a decorated Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas everyone and happy holidays! I just wanted to share some photos of Croatia in the Christmas period and especially my beautiful hometown Bjelovar.

Interesting facts (some of these probably changed in 2020 due to Covid)

Zagreb Christmas market was voted the best Christmas markets in Europe several times in a row.

In Croatian Merry Christmas is Sretan Božić.

There is an old tradition that I haven’t seen anywhere else. In Croatian we sow pšenica (wheat seeds) in a bowl of water (usually on St. Lucy’s day, 13th December). The wheat will grow until Christmas. My mum usually puts it under the tee but some families use it to decorate the table on Christmas Day. The wheat is trimmed and usually wrapped with a red, white and blue ribbon of the Croatian tricolour. The fuller the wheat grows, the more prosperous the next year will be so they say.

The Christmas tree and the decoration go up on the 24th of December, not beginning of December. The trees are not even sold before mid December. The majority of people buy real trees as there is not much on offer in the faux tree section.

There is loads of food for Christmas in Croatia. And I mean LOADS!! It starts on Christmas Eve with eating cod which can be made in several different way or octopus which my mother traditionally makes and it continues through Christmas, Boxing day and all the way until New Years. Basically it is a very hedonistic, gluttony filled week. From home made Christmas cookies (my mum makes 6 different types and so do many of the women I know), to turkey/pork/duck or any other meat you might fancy, to pašticada and sarma, the best winter meals EVER!

The Christmas tree stays up until 6th January, the Epiphany, but in our family we used to leave it up for longer. My dad is Orthodox and they celebrate Christmas on the 7th January so we just kept the tree up for a few more days. Just to note here before someone jumps in the comments, for Orthodox Christmas a pine branch is taken to church for blessing on the 6th January and the traditions are a bit different, but my dad is not religious, we just love partying :D.

We hope you are spending the holidays with people you love and that the current Covid situation did not change your plans too much.

Sretan Božić

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