Soon we celebrate the most important Christian holiday: the day of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is celebrated each year on a different date, but it is still one of the Sundays between the 22nd March and 25th April. Preparations for Easter lasts 40 days and end on the Sunday before Easter – Palm Sunday, after which begins the Holy Week. The celebration of Easter is connected with the variety of symbols, and the most famous is the decoration of Easter eggs. Other symbols are chickens, rabbits and sweets.
Decorating Easter eggs
In many countries, including Croatia, there is a tradition of coloring eggs i.e. Easter eggs. They used to be decorated with natural colors using the shell onions, beetroot and spinach, but today the tradition is no longer so well preserved. It was also decorated with reed. One more interesting custom is the so called “eggs fighting” which is held in different parts of the Croatian. The eggs are hit against each other, and the one whose egg is not broken at the end of the competition wins.
In some parts of the Croatia, Easter egg was also a gift among the couples whit one interesting there saying “this is an egg for a kiss.” In Dubrovnik, the girls would give their eggs to their fiancés and future mother in laws would bake a braid from dough.
It is a custom to fast on Good Friday which means that low-fat food and fish is eaten on that day. The continental part of Croatian prepares dishes such as beans, stewed fruit, dough with nuts and poppy seeds as well as fish carp and pike. Dalmatia, Istria and Primorje enjoy in seafood and different fish. It is a custom to eat three times a day, once satiety and twice symbolically. Before eating, the food is blessed in the churches during the Easter Mass. Variety of dishes is brought to the blessing. In the continental part of the Croatian it is white bread, in Dalmatia cheese and in the coastal region it is Easter bread. It is a tradition to eat ham on Easter Sunday as well as the baked bread and other sweets. The Christians gather on Easter lunch and celebrate this holiday with the family. The custom is that the Easter lunch is abundant . In northern Croatia, the main course is chicken, turkey or lamb while at sea the best white fish is served.
Easter bonfires (Vuzmenka or Vuzmica)
The ignition of the Easter bonfire in the past had a tradition of village gatherings, singing Easter songs and common celebration of the holiday season. All this happened around the fire, light – as a symbol of Christ. In northwestern Croatia, on Holy Saturday, the Christians would prepare the fire by cutting stone on stone before the vigil. When the fire is lit, the Christians burn their own a piece of wood, which they carry home and in that way transfers the holy fire.
Clappers and ratchet
The custom of making clappers and ratchets is a very old custom spread mostly in central Dalmatia and Konavle. In different parts of the Croatia, the customs are different. For example, on the island Krk at the end of about 30cm long wooden planks they put the metal plates that hang on the edge and by raising and lowering they produce the powerful sound. In other parts of Croatia, they were made so that on the wooden boards the small wheel was adjusted which would be spun while driving and chatting. In some parts, instead of church bells they used wooden clappers and ratchets.
Image source: narodni.net