Traditional Christmas Customs in Istria

Christmas time in Istria is one of the most beautiful times of the year and we all looking forward to it. Christmas traditional customs start with Advent lighting on the streets and squares and it continues through the Christmas time, New Year until the Epiphany (Three Kings Day).

bozicna carolijaMagical Advent lighting
Towns and places in Istria during Christmas holidays become even more magical under the evening light. Places in Istria are filled with a festive atmosphere, numerous colourful lights and Christmas decorations. Decorating of streets and squares, as well as homes, is a tradition and an important event for adults and children.

Burning of the log
All houses used to have a hearthstone In Istria and it had great importance for the celebration of Christmas. At the Christmas Day, one large log was brought which should burn until the Epiphany (Three Kings Day). It was considered that baby Jesus was kept warm by the fire and its light will light up the way to the three kings.

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Visit Live Nativity scene in Sveti Lovreč

Live Nativity scene is set up in homes and churches on Christmas Day and you can find there the figures of Jesus, Holy Mary, St. Joseph, shepherds, angels, the Holy Three Kings and others.

Exhibition of home nativity scenes which is held in Žminj gathers exhibitors from all parts of Istria. Don't miss the Live Nativity scene in Sveti Lovreč where you will meet many masters of the old crafts, domestic animals, and find out how people used to trade and write.
Also, you can try authentic local products and purchase handmade decorations and souvenirs.

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Christmas with traditional food and pastry in Istria
Food that was traditionally prepared for Christmas is still being prepared and served at the holiday table. White codfish with pasutice (pasta), salted anchovies and maneštra (Istrian traditional vegetable stew) with chickpeas is eaten at the Christmas Eve's dinner and later people attend the Midnight Mass.

Spend joyful time with your loved ones and enjoy the preparation of the sweet pastry - fritule, cukerančići, povetice and kroštule and you can always try Christmas pastry and sweets at numerous Advent fairs in Istria.

The traditional custom of „koledanje“
Certain parts of Istria have still preserved the custom where men visit homes and villages to sing Christmas songs and congratulate people while the host welcomes them in their homes or in the centre of the place and gift them with wine, cakes, sausages and eggs. „Koledanje“ is people's custom which is characteristic for the period between the Christmas and The Epiphany, especially in the week after the New Year.