Customs of Croatia
Marriage and Family
Generally, people in rural areas marry in their early 20s and urban dwellers in their late 20s to early 30s. To be legally married, one must have a civil ceremony, but having a church wedding before the civil ceremony has become popular since the demise of communism. After the ceremony, a wedding reception is usually held at home or in a restaurant. Weddings in rural areas are a particular cause for celebration, and the festivities may last for days.
Families in rural areas traditionally include grandparents, parents, and children. The father or grandfather has a dominant role in the family. In urban families, both husband and wife are more likely to share in decision making. Grandparents may also be included in the decision-making process, but less often than in rural areas. Children of working mothers may go to day-care centers or may be cared for by family members (usually grandparents). Adult children often live with their parents until they marry or can afford to live on their own. Children are expected to care for their elderly parents.
A variety of foods are found in
Breakfast is light and usually accompanied by black coffee. Yogurt is often eaten for breakfast or as a snack later in the day. In coastal areas, people break at midmorning for marenda, a light meal of cold cuts, cheese, and bread or fruit and pastries. A light midday snack is common in other areas, too. Lunch is the main meal of the day and consists of soup, meat, salad, bread, potatoes or other cooked vegetables, dessert, and coffee or tea. In urban areas, dinner usually consists of cold cuts of meat, bread, cheeses, and eggs. People in rural areas may sometimes have a cooked meal for dinner. When eating, hands are kept above the table. Conversation at the table is often lively.
A handshake is the most common greeting in
Croatians enjoy socializing and getting together for historical, religious, cultural, and sporting events, and on family occasions. The most popular sport is soccer, followed very closely by basketball, and then handball, tennis, water polo, and sailing. Other sports and games such as chess, volleyball, archery, hockey, boxing, skiing, swimming, bowling, rowing, fishing, and hunting are also enjoyed.
Many people like to go on walks, and families usually take summer vacations lasting one to four weeks. People who live in urban areas enjoy outings in the countryside, vacationing on the Adriatic coast and traveling abroad. Croatians often watch television in the evenings and on weekends, and frequent the cinema and museums. Folk festivals and the arts in general are well supported.
Holidays and Celebrations
Official public holidays include New Year’s Day (1 January), May Day (1 May), Republic Day (30 May), National Holiday (22 June), Assumption (15 August), All Saints’ Day (1 November), and Christmas (25 to 26 December). Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on 7 January, and they receive a paid holiday for it. Muslims may take paid leave to celebrate Ramasan Bairam (the feast at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting) and Kurban Bairam (Feast of the Sacrifice). Jews may also have paid leave for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
Source: Encarta Interactive World Atlas