Find out why Croatian Easter traditions are still passed on from generation to generation
Croatia is a religious country, with more than 90% of Croats being Catholics. For that reason, it is no wonder locals from various parts of the country have their unique ways of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Bake traditional sweet bread named pinca Croatians traditionally make for Easter. This bread originates from the Venetian Republic when eating pastries and cakes was a luxury. Across the country, you can find this bread delicacy under a different name. In Dalmatia, a common name for it is sirnica, in other regions it is known as Easter cake and johnnycake, but the most widely spread name is pinca. Also, there are variations of the recipe, depending on the region. You can find a full recipe for pinca here and try it out in your kitchen. You won’t be disappointed!
If you are not into baking as much as you are into eating, you can taste flavors of pinca without getting your hands dirty. Every April, there is a festival in a village Paladnjaki dedicated to this traditional sweet bread. Local housewives from the Istria region show off their baking skills by making traditional Easter pinca and other traditional pastries for tasting. They demonstrate the art of kneading and baking pinca in a fireplace under the baking lid just like it was done in the old times.
Even though pinca is the centerpiece of the Easter table, there is one more traditional Istrian (and Croatian) baked good worth remembering – jajarice. Jajarice are braided buns with a boiled painted egg on top. As we mentioned earlier, most of the history Croatian families lived modestly, and Easter was the time of the year where they would indulge in food. Children were especially excited about jajarice, which they received as a gift for Easter lunch by other family members. This small gift of kindness taught them how to appreciate little things in life.
Bring out your hidden creativity
First, you will need some eggs. It is the best you use white eggs to achieve a more intense color. Boil the eggs and then hop to your garden or the closest park. Get some fresh air while you pick out small flowers, clovers, or leaves with your family. Place picked plants onto the boiled eggs, wrap each egg in a nylon sock, and secure the sock with the rope.
You probably use onions all the time. Onion shells will come useful for the second part of this family project. Collect as much of the onion shells you can, place them in the water. Add some vinegar and cook it for a while. Leave wrapped eggs in the water through the night, and in the morning, you will find your masterpiece.
If you are not the most patient person in the world, you can make this process faster. Boil eggs with the onion shells and other ingredients. In no time, you will have your unique Easter egg ready.
Painted Easter eggs, or as we call it “pisanica”, were given to children for a particular reason. When you painted your Easter eggs, you are ready to win in egg tapping. The rules of this game are simple. Two people choose the best of their eggs. One person holds the egg vertically while the other lightly taps it with their egg. If the tapped egg cracks, the person holding the egg loses. If not, the match continues. To make sure you will win the match, you can always play with a wooden egg. It will be our little secret.
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If walking to the closest park is not enough of the physical activity for you and your family, you will love this next Croatian Easter tradition. You can walk to the closest field or local forest and pick out the prettiest and most unusual flowers and herbs. In some parts of Croatia, there is a custom to wash your face in the water filled with flowers, one week before Easter or on Holy Saturday. It was a tradition for the young girls to bathe their faces in spring flowers, picked out from the fields, or a garden and gathered into washbowl. This was a way to honor water, flowers, youth and spring.
On the island of Lopud, near Dubrovnik on Holy Saturday, there is a bell ringing at 11 a.m., as a sign of Jesus's resurrection. In the morning, locals wash their faces in the water filled with flower petals. Then, they go to the holy mass to celebrate this day. Afterward, the family gathers around the table and enjoys an abundant breakfast. Centerpieces of this feast are eggs, ham, spring onion, and pinca. For the full experience, try this delicious Croatian Easter breakfast at home. Eggs, ham and spring onion you could probably fetch in your local store, and I already shared with you a recipe for the best pinca.
I hope I brought a dash of Croatia into your home and that you will crack an egg or two.
Have a Happy Easter!Design your next trip to Croatia