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Christmas in Croatia

A street from Croatia on Christmas

By Correspondent Velimir Baksa in Varaždin, Croatia.

How is it in Croatia for Christmas? Well, to be honest with you, every year it is different. As I grow older my perception is changing. Once normal thing, today just an old memory forgotten by most people. As kid I loved Christmas because of cinnamon cookies. I still do, but I used to. It all starts on 4th of December. That day is St. Barbara day and on that day people plant wheat. Until Christmas it should be nice and green. With that preparations are beginning. House cleaning, food shopping, search for nice turkey and tree. House decorations ideas. Today, we all celebrate Christmas in same meaner with almost same food and same artificial traditions. On Christmas eve the oldest male from house would bring straw and put it under the table. Children would play in it and on Christmas people would put apples in that straw. Young people would sing on streets, people would be happy.

Today it is more Americanized and people only care about presents. I am happy to live in an old baroque town with rich traditions. With Advent starts the traditional Christmas fair. Finery, traditional toys, home made food and smell from cooked wine everywhere. There is an legend that says that Angels when tired come in my town to rest until eternity. During Christmas time and with Christmas fair this legend seam to be true. People singing on town square, children playing, families walking together and having fun. People of all ages united. I call that Christmas magic.

When speaking of tradition, I also have my own traditions. Every year on Christmas eve I have with my friend an special evening. We meet in our favorite coffee shop and, drink cooked wine, we laugh and hang out free from problems, together like friends. With words I just can’t share with you the feeling of Christmas in my town, but I have an idea how to do it. I will share with you some Christmas recipes in hope that, when you make it, you can feel the joy and smell of my Christmas.

Cooked wine:
Christmas. It is cold and snowing. The smell that calls for ice skating, snowball fight, hanging out with family and friends. That is the smell of cooked wine. Ah, the wonderful feeling when your cold nose and hands are connected with the warm steam from wine. The smell of orange, lemon, apple, cinnamon and cloves fills the air. I will share with you an traditional recipe. Red or white wine, it doesn’t meter. All you need is one bottle of wine, cinnamon bark, cloves, one apple, orange, lemon and anise.

1 bottle of red wine
1 orange
1 lemon
anise, cinnamon in bark, cloves

Put wine in pot and cook it on medium fire until it boils. When wine begins to boil add one spoon honey, cinnamon, anise and cloves. Grate lemon and orange into wine and cut them into circles. Put lemon and orange circles in wine and cook for 20 minutes. Serve in mugs or heat resistant glasses.

White wine:
1 bottle of white wine
1 apple
cinnamon bark

Cut apple in peaces and put them with wine in pot. Cook on medium fire until it begins to boil. When boiling add cinnamon and honey. Cook them for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve in mug or heat resistant glasses.

Another smell associated with Christmas is the smell of warm gingerbread. This is an traditional gingerbread recipe from my town.

What you need:
baking powder

Baking powder mix with flour and add butter and eggs. Mix it well. In dough add cinnamon powder, nuts, sugar, rum and grated lemon. Mix it all together. Wrap the dough in foil and put it in fridge for at least 1 hour. When it colds down, take it from the fridge and roll to 1 cm thickens.

You can cut it in any shape you like. Put them on casserole and bake in oven for 10 minutes on 180°. After 10 minutes take them out and cover with chocolate or dried fruit.

Velimir Baksa
Hi. I`m Velimir Baksa and 27 year old from Varaždin, Croatia.
Mechanical engineer, science geek. My interests are nanotechnology, machine learning, robotics and automotive design. In my free time I like to cook and write. Passionate pen and paper player.
Linux enthusiast and journalist, free software and freedom fighter. Like heavy metal, dislike folk.

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