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Croatia Celebrates Martinje – The Holy Day of Wine

(Photo Dubrovnik Wine Fest)

It is not as if one needs an excuse to knock back some fine Croatian wine, but this weekend there will be no better reason as Croatia celebrates an ancient tradition.

The holy day of wine ‘Martinje’, or St Martin’s Day, is celebrated on 11 November in many towns and villages around Croatia, particularly in the hillside wine cellars around Dugo Selo where St. Martin is the patron saint.

It is an occasion when many winemakers and their friends give thanks to St. Martin for a good harvest and young wine. Martinje basically celebrates the day that must, or young wine matures into wine fit for drinking.

These celebrations date back to pre-Christian times and mark the period when works outside of the home, in the fields, would come to an end and preparations for the winter would begin. In the wine-growing areas, this is the time that marks the end of all vineyard activities.

In Zagreb – Martinje in Zagreb – will be held to mark the occasion until 12 November. The event not only celebrates the day but helps promote local wineries in the area with promotions on the city’s main square.

At midday on Sunday 12 November on Ban Jelačić square local wines, food, and traditional products will be presented with the wine christening ceremony also held.

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