The customs of the Dubrovnik region during Easter are marked by diversity, originality and tradition.
The awakening of nature, flower blooming, the birth of a new life is a symbol of Easter, precisely because of the connection with this and the awakened life, is the reason for eggs.
On Palm Sunday at the beginning of Holy Week, Catholics are going to the church to bless beautifully handmade palm branch and the olive trees native branches.
The beautiful tradition of knitting palm branch has been preserved, not only for the present but for the future as it is passed on to younger generations. According to belief, the blessed branches provided good agricultural produce, protection from the storm, and families, health, happiness, and well-being.
At Easter, Catholics would carry a basket of traditional food (including pinca- Croatian Easter “bread”, egg, salt and matches). During the Holy Mass, the priest blesses the food, which is kept to eat before the family lunch.
LOVE, AFFECTION, HONESTY, AND FRIENDSHIP
The custom of giving eggs as gifts represent love, affection, honesty, friendship, human attachment and closeness. Painting Easter eggs is an especially beloved tradition in Dubrovnik and one of the traditional customs would be painting the eggs by wax. It’s an old and special technique. Choose between needle, toothpick or blank old fountain pen, dip it in melted hot wax and with quick moves, that wax doesn’t get cold, decorate your Easter egg, boil them in the water you wish your egg to be painted and let it cool down.
It used to be custom that a bride married in the past year would be obliged to donate 12 painted eggs to her mother in law.
It used to be custom that eggs would first be distributed as a gift to relatives. It was an obligation. Previously, many more eggs were selected and donated, from 12 to 48 eggs to each immediate family member. A young bride married in the past year would be obliged to donate 12 painted eggs to her mother in law. Some people still practice this. After this, painted eggs were intended for children, girls, boys in the household, and friends, guests. In recent times, as households are not so big, the number of painted eggs got smaller.
On Easter Day, a traditional game is played in which at least two people choose eggs and hold them vertically while one person lightly taps the end of the other egg with their end, to see whose will crack. Anyone whose egg cracks must choose another and then tap the other person’s egg, and they continue until all the eggs have been used and cracked but the last one. Whoever holds the strongest egg at the end which has not been cracked, wins.
The most common phrase put on painted eggs is Happy Easter, or “Sretan Uskrs“ in Croatian.
So dear readers, happy and blessed Easter to you and your families from Hello Dubrovnik.
Photo credit: Ivan Vukovic Vuka