It is no secret Croatians love their food. There is usually no need to wait for special occasions for an impressive feast.
Christmas is a special time though.
For Croatians, the big day in the Christmas period is “Badnji Dan” (Christmas Eve Day) and “Badnja Večer” (Christmas Eve night).
The term badnjak means “to be awake”, hence referring to staying awake all through the night until Christmas Day. The tradition of bringing a log into the house and placing it on the fire on badnjak, and keeping it burning throughout Christmas Day, has been going on in regions in Croatia for centuries.
Another old tradition is the sowing of pšenica (wheat seeds) in a bowl of water (usually on St. Lucy’s day), which will grow until Christmas and is then used to decorate the table on Christmas.
Since Christmas Eve is a fasting day, traditionally on Christmas Eve Croatians eat a small meal in the evening.
On Christmas Day, Croatians traditionally prepare a roast – either turkey, lamb, pig or duck.
Winter dishes like sarma and stews are also eaten over the festive period. And an abundance of traditional Christmas desserts.
Here are 15 things you will likely see on the table over the festive period in Croatian households: