Like any holiday, Easter is no exception when it comes to delicious food which we serve to gather around our family and friends. Croatia as a country with strong Christian tradition has always been evolving all kinds of variations of what kind of food to eat during the Easter holidays.
Easter symbolizes a new beginning, and that also is in a way entangled into the dishes. After a long fast the tradition is not to indulge immediately on Easter morning, but to take the food you prepared to holy mass to get them baptized. This is very common, especially in Slavic tradition.
So what do people usually take to church?
In the most traditional way, people take a knitted basket and first put a cotton napkin inside then inside the napkin goes the food. What kind of food do you wonder?
Ham in continental and prosciutto in coastal parts of the country, in Slavonia they often put Kulen (a traditional Slavonian dry meat dish) as a symbol of a good year in harvest, eggs, wine, rakija, horseradish, onion, salt, and homemade bread. After the mass and food being baptized, it is taken back home to finally be eaten in the circle of a family who fasted since Ash Wednesday.
Old beliefs say that you should not throw away the leftovers but better bury them or burn them.
For lunch, it is usual to eat also something universal for every Croatian Sunday lunch such as meat, potatoes or „mlinci“ and some soup and salad.
There are special kinds of pastry women still make in rural Croatia on the day before Easter.
In regions of Zagorje and Podravina, there is a special pastry named „vrtanj“ made of wheat and cornflour. Dalmatia also has its special pastry named „pinca“ which almost passes as a cake since its made of flour, milk, eggs, sugar, and fat.
In magical Istria, there is also a tradition of making pinca but besides making pincaone of the most common pastries in Istria is „povetica“, a type of strudel made of dough filled with apples and nuts.
One of the Istrian traditions is also making small cookies out of „pinca“ dough to give them to children as little Easter gifts.
Some of those customs are slowly going towards rarity and extinction, but most of those dishes and customs are in some way present in every Croatian household.
In case you’ve missed some of the most presentable Croatian dishes, be sure to check them out on this link.