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Croatian Easter traditions

Easter is a holiday of great importance in Croatia. It is a time of the year which we spend celebrating with our families. For Roman Catholics, Easter is the most sacred religious event and we start our Easter holiday preparations at the end of February, just right after the carnival season ends.

  • By Sven Petrak, Raiffeisen Bank in Croatia |
  • Events & Lifestyle

Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday

Every part of the country has its own Easter customs and ceremonies. Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday. In many places, various ceremonies and processions are held every night during the Holy Week. It is a great custom to carry a palm branch for blessing, but since palm branches are not so frequent in Croatia and not available to everyone, rosemary twigs or olive branches are also acceptable. The branches are carried to the church for blessing. After the blessing, they are usually hung in some parts of the house.


CAMPIGLIA MARITTIMA, TUSCANY, ITALY - March 25, 2018: Campiglia Marittima, Province of Livorno in the Italian region Tuscany, located about 100 kilometers from Florence, Palm Sunday of Holy Easter Week

On Good Friday, people commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is considered a day of fasting, when people traditionally abstain from meat and replace it with fish and other seafood. People usually eat fish stews with various vegetables, depending on the part of the country they live in.  

Passions processions take place every year on Good Friday and are one of the longstanding Easter traditions in Croatia. Every place organises its own procession, following the traditional routine by incorporating local customs.

Men carrying lamps at night during a pilgrimage at Easter, Stari Grad, Hvar Island, Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia, Europe
Men carrying lamps at night during a pilgrimage at Easter, Stari Grad, Hvar Island

Coloured eggs for family members

At the end of Easter week, coloured eggs are given to family members and close friends. In Croatia, they are called pisanice. There are many traditional decorating techniques, and one of the most popular is painting with leaves, flowers, and wax. All colours are made from 100 % natural plant and vegetable dyes and are painted with spinach, red cabbage, turmeric, blueberries, parsley, or coffee. There are usually no egg hunts and other western
traditions that you have probably heard of.  

Traditional Easter egg from Croatia

Of course, many Easter traditions revolve around what, when and how we eat.

The best known Croatian Easter dishes are a special bread called pinca, served with Easter ham and eggs for breakfast. Some people prepare cooked ham and others prepare it baked in bread. Lunch on Easter Day includes a lamb roast or turkey with mlinci and a traditional dessert, such as orehnjača, gibanica, kuglof or rožata.

The best way to enjoy and experience it all is to simply come to Croatia! 


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