After 40 days of Lent, the holiday of Easter for many means a revival and a new beginning. The celebration of Easter is associated with many symbols and rituals that have lived for several hundred years. The greatest Christian holiday, Easter, is celebrated by all, regardless of religious affiliation, and is celebrated in a family circle, gathered around a rich holiday table.
Let us remember the religious rituals that we normally follow during the Holy Week and Easter.
The Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, and one of the customs that unites religion and nature is washing the face with water containing flower petals and a variety of herbs. It is custom to bring branches of olive tree to the Holy Mass for blessing.
During the Holy Week, the custom of tidying up and cleaning the house and going to church to confession has been cherished since ancient times in order to symbolically purify the soul, according to Christian tradition. In most rural parts of Croatia, during the Holy Week, church bells did not ring, only household chores were done and no people went to the fields. In some parts of northwestern Croatia, even today, after waking up at dawn, an Easter bonfire is lit, the so-called vuzmenka made of pine trees or pyramids made of logs, and in Dalmatia rattles are made.
What they all have in common is the preparation for the arrival of Easter during the the Holy Threeday, the blessing of food, the coloring of Easter eggs and the fasting and preparation of meat and fish specialties. On the Holy Saturday or early Easter morning, believers bring food to the church for blessing to share with their family later. The children picked grass the day before Easter and used it to make nests in which parents would leave presents during the night.
On Easter Friday in Dalmatia, gilthead sea bream, hake, octopus and squid are prepared, along with the inevitable vegetables and boiled potatoes. Chickpea maneštra and white cod have been served in Istria since ancient times.
Easter eggs are decorated with various techniques, and in the past natural colors were used for coloring; red from the peel of red onion, beetroot or chicory, black from the berries of elderberry, mulberry or soot, spinach, leek or nettle for green, and dark brown from oak bark. Waxing is very common too.
On Easter Day, in most Croatian cities, cooked ham, eggs, spring onions, cottage cheese and radishes will be on the holiday table. In Slavonia, the team will be joined by a French salad, dedicated bread and kulen. In Zagorje, traditional bread is baked in which ham is cooked. For the main course, there will be turkey with grinders on the table. In Istria, prosciutto, or traditionally sauerkraut with meat and fuži, will be served with eggs and pint. In Dalmatia, he will serve roast lamb with spring onions and ham in bread.
On Easter Sunday and throughout the Easter season, among the main attractions are the tastefully decorated Croatian Easter eggs known as "Easter eggs". In the past, young men often gave Easter eggs to young girls, but today they are usually exchanged between friends and family. Croatian Easter eggs knock on each other to see whose egg will remain whole.
Cities all over Croatia decorate their squares and streets with Easter decorations; Easter bunny, his house, colorful Easter eggs, nests with colorful Easter eggs, chickens, paths, bridges and other attractions, and many of the Easter eggs in supernatural size can be seen on city streets and squares, various exhibitions of Easter eggs.