Folk customs, the uniqueness of each country that is passed down from generation to generation, with a century-old tradition, traditional music, folk dances and a wealth of folk costumes, are a small part of Croatian folk heritage. Unfortunately, since the fifties, the performance of customs has been slowly decreasing. The consequence is that folk customs are dying out and are practiced only by our ancestors. Many customs are included in the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage, and we tried to single out a couple of the most interesting folk customs in Croatia!
WEDDING CUSTOMS Some wedding customs are present throughout Croatia, such as carrying the bride over the doorstep, "buying the bride" or believing that it is "unfortunate" if the groom sees the wedding dress before the wedding. But there are also differences. While in Dalmatia the groom has to take an apple from a tree with a rifle to be able to take the bride, in Slavonia the bride throws an apple over the groom's house to show that she is strong and ready for the upcoming household chores. After the bride receives a blessing from her parents, she drinks and throws her glass on the floor. If the glass is broken, the child will be male, and if it is not broken - female. In Slavonia, it is also customary for the bride to give gifts to the groom's parents during the wedding, while in Dalmatia this is done only after the bride enters the groom's house.
MASQUERADE Carnivals, masquerades, poklade, faschnik… These are all names that mark the days before Lent when we can become whatever we want. The most famous Croatian carnival is held in Rijeka, and the trademark of the Kvarner Carnival is the bell ringers. Recognizable by their appearance, bell ringers wear sheepskin coats, a bell around their waist to create noise, and masks with a large nose, jaws, horns, etc. on their heads.
HOLIDAY OF ST. LUCIJE
Feast of St. Lucia is celebrated in all parts of Croatia. In Dalmatia, St. Luce left gifts under her pillow or in a sock on the window. A match, dried figs, almonds or apples would usually appear in the sock. Unfortunately, not all children received gifts. Children in orphanages would be told that St. Luce couldn't get through with the presents because they didn't clean the chimney well. While in Slavonia, girls would write the names of potential, desirable guys on 11 notes, and the twelfth note would remain blank. Then they would burn one note each day until Christmas. The one who stays last bears the name of her future husband, and if the girl is left with a note that says nothing, it means that she will not get married.
MIDSUMMER BONFIRES Midsummer bonfires are a custom of lighting a fire on the feast of St. John the Baptist. In all parts of Croatia, there are St. John's customs, and the custom was a favorite among children and young people, but also the elderly. On the day of the holiday itself, children would gather wood in the neighborhood in the morning and afternoon, and when they did, the impatient and excited would wait in the evening for one of the older, more experienced men to light the candlestick. After the fire broke out, the boys and girls would dance by the fire, and later, when the fire calmed down, the boys and boys would run around and jump over the fire. It was believed that whoever jumped the fire would be happy and healthy.