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How is Christmas celebrated in my town


The time of preparation for Christmas is called Advent or Doae in Croatian. The celebration of Advent started in the 5th century, when bishop Perpetuus of Toursa started preparation for Christmas, starting from St. Martins Day on 11 November.

The Advent Wreath

It symbolizes the passage of four weeks of Advent in the liturgical calendar. It has four candles, which are lit on the four Sundays prior to Christmas, one at a time.

Saint Martins Day

St. Martins Day (Martinje in Croatian) is a feast when the must is baptised and when it turns to wine. This day is of special importance in our region, famous for winemaking.

Saint Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas Day (Nikolinje or Sveti Nikola in Croatian) introduces the Christmas spirit. St. Nicholas will bring gifts to good children so the evening prior to this day they clean, polish and put their boots on the window sill and hope St.Nicholas will fill them with candy and other gifts. They can also get a rod from Krampus, a scary character, resembling the devil, who accompanies St.Nicholas.

People usually dress up as St.Nicholas and Krampus and visit families with children to either give them presents if they were good, or make them say a prayer and give them a rod if they misbehaved throughout the year.

Christmas wheat
The first actual preparation for starts when Christmas wheat is sown. This is done on Saint Barbaras Day (6 December) and Saint Lucys Day (13 December). It is sown into a bowl of water, and left to grow until Christmas. People trim the wheat and often wrap it with a ribbon (red, white and blue the Croatian tricolour). This wheat symbolizes the birth of Christ , fertility and prosperity in the year to come. After Christmas this wheat is fed to the birds, it isnt allowed to throw anything away.

Christmas Eve (Badnjak)

On Christmas Eve people would get up early, prepare meals and they also were making a homemade bread. Size of the bread symbolized abundance in the upcoming year.

The Christmas Tree

In Croatia decoration of the Christmas tree began in the 19th century. In past homes were decorated with flowers, greenery, fruits (apples, plums, pears...), various sweets and paper ornaments.

On Christmas Eve every family member helps around the house women usually prepare meals and make cakes, men prepare the Christmas tree, decorate the house with Christmas lights and children (or the entire family) decorate the Christmas tree in the evening. Christmas Eve is a fasting day.

Christmas Straw
In the past, Christmas Eve was much richer in various traditions, such as the introduction of straw in the house.

The straw was brought into the house and spread on the floor under the table. This was to symbolize Christs birth in the stable.

Bundles and wreaths were also Made as a symbol of fertility. After dinner, the family would sit on it and talk, tell stories and wait until midnight to attend Midnight Mass.

Christmas Day
Some families open their presents after the Midnight Mass, while others wait until Christmas morning. We give gifts as a token of appreciation and love. We also go to Mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

On Christmas Day the whole family gather around the table for a big meal to enjoy various specialties which have been prepared for days.

St. Stephens Day, St. Johns Day and the Day of the Holy Innocents
Day after Christmas is the St. Stephens day -on that day we visit relatives and friends. On St. Johns Day wine is blessed. People put straw on fruit trees to improve their fruitfulness next year. On the Day of the Holy Innocents children are blessed at Mass. The common practice is the so-called flogging, when people slightly hit each other with branches, symbolizing the pain of killed children.

Comparing to today, in past, Christmas was celebrated more modest. People didnt buy presents and didnt go to shopping malls. Big feasts are prepared, people visit big shopping malls and shopping sometimes lasts for even a couple of days. In the past, people were preparing themselves for a week for Christmas celebration: cakes and traditional dishes were baked and cooked, and the house was prepared for guests that came to stay for a few days. Today, everything is commercialied and easy to buy.

Boi danas

Manifestations in akovec
Advent in the town of Zrinski (Advent u gradu Zrinskih) is a group of manifestations that are held on Saturdays in December (every Advent Saturday 9:00 - 13:00), in different places inside the town: Scheier building, Atrium, town centre, St. Nicholas Church, the Nikola Zrinski akovec library and the Cultural Centre

Christmas in Gospodarska kola

Every year a traditional Christmas fair is held in our school. On this fair students present their products or services, take part in various performances and have a great time.

You can try homemade cakes, toast sandwiches, hot dogs, pancakes, pop corn, chocolate dipped fruit, hot chocolate, tea, etc.

You can also buy various kinds of handmade Christmas decoration, accessories and jewellery, or let our hairdressers and beauticians do your hair, makeup, a manicure, or massage your hands. This year one of our students offered her pony, so our offer included a pony ride!

At the same time you can enjoy concerts and other performances organised by our teachers and students. The money we earn at this fair is used for humanitarian purposes.

Thank you for your attention!