Christmas Around The World - Croatia - The British Hamper Company

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Christmas Around The World - Croatia

14 Oct 2020

Our previous Christmas around the world visit saw us drop off in Costa Rica to see how they celebrated Christmas.

Today we visit Croatia to have a look at their Christmas customs.

Croatia has a population of around 4.2 million people with Zagreb the capital having around 800,000 of the total population.

Croatia claimed independence in 1991 having been part of Yugoslavia (which was broken up into six different countries including Slovenia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia).

Croatia is about the same size as Ireland and has a coastline on the Adriatic sea.


Christmas is celebrated from the 25th November through to the 06th January.

Special dates through the Christmas period include:

  • St Barbara's Day (04th December)
  • St Nicholas' Day (06th December)
  • St Lucia's Day (13th December)
  • Christmas Day (25th December)
  • The Epiphany (06th January)


Religious Influence

Over 85% of the population of Croatia are Catholic.

Traditional Advent Wreath With Red Candles

Photo by David Bartus from Pexels


Advent wreaths are tradition and are usually made from straw and evergreen twigs. They have four candles that represent:

  • Creation and hope (1st - Purple Candle)
  • Embodiment and peace (2nd - Purple Candle)
  • Redemption and joy (3rd - Pink Candle)
  • Ending and love (4th - Purple Candle)

Wreaths are usually homemade, although you can also buy them.

Christmas trees are popular and are normally decorated on either Christmas Eve or Christmas day. They're usually decorated with fruit-shaped ornaments (these use to be real fruits that were sometimes covered in gold).

In rural parts of the country, straw is brought into the house on Christmas Eve for good future crops.


On December 5th (St Nicholas' Day), children clean their shoes and leave them in the window in the hope that St Nicholas will leave chocolates and small gifts in them.

Naughty children get golden twigs from Krampus as a reminder to behave.

On St Lucia's day (13th December), people sow wheat on small plates and the sprouts are put under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. An old tradition is for young men to give their girlfriend a decorated apple at Christmas.

Logs Alight On An Open Fire

Photo by alex Lázaro from Pexels

A yule log (badnjak) was traditionally lit in the fire place on Christmas Eve but not many people have fireplaces anymore.

Christmas Presents are often exchanged on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, and many people will go to midnight mass.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day are usually spent with close family, and extended family will visit on Boxing day.


Most people fast meat on Christmas Eve so they'll eat 'bakalar' (dried cod) or another type of fish since it's not considered meat.

The main meal on Christmas day often consists of turkey, goose or duck. Sarma (cabbage rolls filled with minced pork meat) is a popular side dish.

Cookies, cakes and doughnuts are also very popular including 'Krafne' (doughnuts filled with either jam, jelly, marmalade or chocolate) and 'Fritule' (mini doughnuts flavoured with lemon and rum).

Our next stop takes us to the Czech Republic to see how Christmas is celebrated there.