CROATIAN WEDDING TRADITIONS & CUSTOMS
Croatian weddings have traditions that stretch back for hundreds of years. Every culture has its customs and while modern weddings are often deprived of traditional elements, adding some can give wedding a certain charm.
We've listed bellow the most popular Croatian traditions and their meanings... If there is something specific that you'd like to see added to our ever-growing product line, we'd love to hear from you! Feel free to contact us via email with your suggestions firstname.lastname@example.org.
Instead of a diamond ring, the man offers an obiljezje, which is a piece of fruit such as an apple with coins pressed into it. The acceptance of the fruit by the lady symbolizes their engagement. This is a very old Croatian wedding tradition that is not seen in other countries.
False bride is one of the most amusing customs in Croatia. The groom arrives with his guests in front of the bride’s house and asks for his bride. A male family member opens the door, but they are not just giving the bride away yet. The bride’s family try to “cheat” the groom by giving him a false bride. This includes a rugged doll dressed in a wedding gown, or the bride’s grandmother or even male family members in one as well. After being fraud, the groom finally gets to see his bride and then both parties unite and leave for the church.
The Walks to Church
Everyone then heads to the church for the ceremony as one person carries the Croatian flag. Flag carriers are called the barjaktar and they wave the flag around for the entire procession, whooping and shouting as they go.
In Croatia, rosemary is considered as a welcome to wedding guests. Each guest receives a single branch of rosemary which is pinned to their left side as corsages. Often, the rosemary is decorated with a red-white-blue ribbon that symbolizes Croatian flag. It’s a tradition that guests leave some money as a “donation” in a basket after they receive the decoration.
The wedding ceremony is usually catholic but many couples today decide to confirm their love in different wedding venues. A professional photographer takes a bunch of photos in front of the church.
Family pants tradition is used to determine who will be the real leader of the house once the couple began living together. After the actual wedding, the two would try to step on each other’s feet. If the groom succeeded to do so before the bride, he would be the head of the house. On the other hand, if the bride managed to step on the groom’s foot, she would call the shots in marriage. In another version, the newly wedded pair would race to the church doors. The winner would run the house.
Dance with the Bride
Another Croatian wedding tradition, the dance with the bride usually starts at midnight. The guests have a chance to dance with the bride, but the trick is that you have to give some money instead. The maid of honor is holding the basket for the money, and when you throw it in, you get to dance with the bride. The length of your dance will depend on how large your donation was and it’s up to the maid-of-honor to judge that. The more money you give, the longer you dance, also you can do it more than once.
The Real Party
After the wedding ceremony, it’s time to head to the wedding venue, to eat, drink and be merry until the morning.
The 3 AM Goulash
After a day and night of drinking, guests are served either goulash or sarma (rolled cabbage stuffed with mince and rice), and in some areas fish stews plus coffee.
During one part of the evening, guests bring their presents to the couple and in almost every case, money is the gift presented in an envelope.
This list can be way longer depending on the origins of the families but for now these are the most common ones practiced at Croatian weddings here in Australia. The bottom line is despite the customs, rituals and traditions, two souls destined to be together wed. Everybody there is their witness and they are present to celebrate their love.
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