CROATIA HOLIDAYS

Croatia has 14 national holidays, many of which are based on Catholicism or are associated with a notable milestone in national history. These are non-working days; they are celebrated across the country and are also an opportunity for short work breaks and holidays. Especially if you’re lucky enough to connect them with the weekend 

01.01. New Year’s Day

06.01. Epiphany

Bogojavljenje (Epiphany) or Sveta tri kralja (Three Kings’ Day) is one of the oldest Catholic holidays and a national holiday in Croatia. Epiphany is celebrated every year on January 6. On this day, Christians celebrate the revelation of God’s incarnation as Jesus Christ. Epiphany comes from the Greek word “επιφάνεια”, which means appearance or announcement.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Easter

Easter (Uskrs) is a big holiday in Croatia. There are so many Easter customs in Croatia that it is impossible to remember all of them. Some are common across the country, and some are specific to regions, cities, and villages. Read more ……

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

01.05. Labor Day (International Worker’s Day)

Labor Day is a national holiday in Croatia celebrated on May 1, along with 90 other countries. It is a day when we celebrate solidarity among workers and workers’ rights. Presently, the celebration of workers’ rights has been watered down. As this is a national holiday (meaning a free day from work), many Croats spend it with their families or friends. A common custom is to barbecue somewhere outside – in nature or in the garden. Parades are no longer held, but some cities organize local gatherings.

Traditional olive oil production, Stella Croatica, Split Croatia photo credit by Stella Croatica
Traditional olive oil production, Stella Croatica, Split Croatia photo credit by Stella Croatica

30.05. Statehood Day

Statehood Day, called ‘Dan državnosti’ is a national holiday that occurs every year on May 30 in Croatia. On this day, Croatia celebrates the country’s 1991 declaration of independence from Yugoslavia. Statehood Day is an official state holiday. As such, many residents enjoy a day off of work.

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi, called ‘Tijelovo’ has been a national holiday in Croatia since 2001. The full name of this Catholic holiday is ‘Svetkovina presvetoga Tijela i Krvi Kristove’, which translates as Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Tijelo translates as a body in Croatian. Tijelovo is marked on the Thursday after the Trinity, which is called Presveto Trojstvo. To simplify, Tijelovo falls on the ninth Thursday after Easter (Uskrs). Since the date of Easter changes each year, so does the date of Tijelovo.

The Cross, Mate Turić, Croatia
The Cross, Mate Turić, Croatia

22.06. Anti-Fascist Struggle Day

Anti-Fascist Struggle Day (Dan antifašističke borbe) is a national holiday in Croatia, marked as the beginning of the uprising of Croatian anti-fascist Partisans against German and Italian fascistic occupying forces. The rebellion started with the forming of the First Sisak Partisan Detachment on June 22, 1941, near Sisak. On the occasion of marking this historical event, numerous delegations and anti-fascist organizations pay homage and lay flowers and wreaths in the city cemeteries of all major Croatian cities. This day is crucial in Croatian history.

Kumrovec-Tito sculpture Croatia.jpg

05.08. Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day

On this day, citizens commemorate the military action called “Oluja” (Operation Storm) from the Croatian War of Independence (Domovinski rat). Oluja was the last major battle of Domovinski rat in 1995. During this battle, the Croatian army liberated the city of Knin, occupied by the Serbian army. This highly attended event commemorates the victims, celebrates the victory, and continues with parades and concerts.

National flag of Croatia, photo by Matko M. Švarc
National flag of Croatia, photo by Matko M. Švarc

15.08. Assumption of Mary

In this celebration, believers make a pilgrimage to many of Mary’s shrines. According to Catholic theology, Mary is embedded in heaven with soul and body. On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII declared the doctrine of Mary’s ascension to heaven. It is preceded by a long tradition that is old as Christianity itself. This holiday is celebrated in many countries, most notably in Europe and South America. Many processions and festivals are held.

Zagreb cathedral, photo by Matko M. Švarc
Zagreb cathedral, photo by Matko M. Švarc

01.11. All Saints Day

On November 1, all across the world, people celebrate All Saint’s Day. In Croatia, this day is called “Dan svih svetih” or “Sisvete”. It is a day when families and friends get together to honor those they’ve lost. They are not simply mourning but celebrating the life they led and remembering the good times they shared.

Mirogoj cemetery, Zagreb, photo by J. Duval, photo credit by TB of Zagreb
Mirogoj Cemetery, Zagreb, photo by J. Duval, photo credit by TB of Zagreb

18.11. The Day of Remembering the Victims of the Croatia War of Independence and the Day of Remembering the Victims of Vukovar and Škabrnja

The Vukovar Water Tower - a symbol of Croatian unity (2)JPG
The Vukovar Water Tower – a symbol of Croatian unity (2)JPG

As of 2019, Croatia has a new national holiday celebrated on November 18. It is a state holiday, so all government offices are closed. This national holiday commemorates the memory of all the military and civilian victims of the Domovinski rat, officially called the Croatian War of Independence. On November 18, 1991, both Vukovar and Škabrnja were attacked and defeated by the Jugoslavenska narodna armija – JNA (Yugoslav People’s Army) and the Serbian army. Across the country, there is a tradition of lighting lanterns in memory and respect for the victims of Vukovar and Škabrnja. Croatians also lay wreaths beside the monuments to Croatian war veterans wherever they live.

Advent Zagreb 2019, Croatia -photo by J. Duval, photo credit by Zagreb city TB
Advent Zagreb 2019, Croatia -photo by J. Duval, photo credit by Zagreb city TB

25.12. Christmas

As in most Christian countries, Christmas is celebrated on December 25 each year. It is a non-working family holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ. Croatians gather and decorate the streets and squares; the most important symbol is the Christmas tree.

Advent in Klovićevi Dvori, photo by Julien Duval, photo credit by TBZ
Advent in Klovićevi Dvori, photo by Julien Duval, photo credit by TBZ

26.12. St. Stephen’s Day

St. Stephen’s Day is a Catholic holiday, predominantly celebrated by Christians. For less or non-religious citizens, this is just another state holiday when you can get a day off work.

Advent, Zrinjevc park, Zagreb, Croatia 2019, photo by J. Duval, photo credit by Zagreb City TB
Advent, Zrinjevc park, Zagreb, Croatia 2019, photo by J. Duval, photo credit by Zagreb City TB

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