Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year the Zadar way

December, 22

The most wonderful time of the year is at our doorstep. But do you know how Christmas is celebrated in top D-Marin locations? We are bringing you a touch of magic and some holiday spirit from the Zadar area.

In Zadar, the Christmas holidays usually last from December 24 or Christmas Eve until January 15 and the Feast of St. Anastasia. St. Anastasia is one of Zadar’s four patron saints and is highly revered by the locals, which is why the old Zadar tradition of not taking down the Christmas tree until the Feast of St. Anastasia is not at all surprising.

During the holidays, the streets of Zadar smell of various traditional delicacies, including homemade bread and countless homemade desserts, such as kroštule and uštipci (doughnut-like fried dough). On Christmas Eve, the locals traditionally prepare fish; nowadays, it is mostly brudet, codfish in bianco, or codfish in rosso. In the past, the most common dishes were sardines and bonito, or simply polenta with laurel leaves for a more pleasant taste and smell. On fasting days and on Christmas Eve, the locals’ favorite dessert is fritule (fritters), a fried, doughnut-like pastry, usually enriched with vanilla, lemon, and cinnamon flavors that can be bought at Zadar’s Christmas market. Surrounded by the glow of thousands of Christmas lights, both the locals and their guests enjoy the holiday spirit that can be felt in the beautiful, cobbled streets. Snacks at every turn, the warmth of mulled wine, and the smell of desserts are just some of the reasons why this part of the year is awaited with special joy.
Besides the scrumptious culinary specialties, Dalmatia is famous for its superb wines. Some of the most famous varieties from this area include Pošip, a white wine with a strong aroma, Plavac, one of the most popular varieties in Croatia, and Maraština, a traditional variety that the Dalmatians and their guests have enjoyed for a long time now. Nevertheless, when visiting the Christmas market, one must not miss the chance to try the warming mulled gin.

Of all the Christmas customs of the Zadar area, the locals say they miss the burning of the Yule log, which was once simply inconceivable but is now practically nonexistent, the most. It is a custom that was once the most common and, many say, the most beautiful of them all. In the hinterland, the locals would usually burn oak logs, while those living by the sea would burn either holm oak or olive tree logs. It was their way of summoning light and warmth, and in some places in the hinterland, they still observe the custom of bringing straw into their homes on Christmas Eve or welcoming shepherds by offering them a piece of pogača, a type of homemade bread.

Whichever custom you decide to try this Christmas, we wish you holidays filled with health, peace, and love, and a happy new year!