Discover true Croatian culture and traditions
Explore what Croatians are like and what traditions and customs we practice throughout the year so you can truly understand our lifestyle
Croatian culture is amazingly rich: from diverse folk traditions to cultural heritage that is thousands of years old. Our everyday Croatian life has elements of both: let me be your cultural guide.
Why you should learn about Croatian culture and its people
The easiest way to fall in love with Croatia is through its rich culture, laid-back lifestyle and warm and generous people. Here are three features to focus on.
Croatian culture values community over individualism. This means family and friends are more important than ambition and work. We are not easy to crack, but once you're in our inner circle, you'll never feel alone.
'Time is money' doesn't quite work in Croatian culture. We are happy to spend time with our loved ones and to give ourselves unstructured time. Nothing feels as sweet and precious as the attention we pay to those we care about.
Some Croatian traits have become stereotypes, such as our carefree coffee drinking. But there is a vast diversity in the mentality of Croatians living in different regions. We'll always surprise you with a new quirk or a fun custom.
what croatians are like
Croatians are proud of their country, generous with their friends, and easy on themselves. We always find time to just be, pamper ourselves and bond with our closest folk. All this is true if you are among our inner network. So, read on to find out how you can get in too.
croatian everyday traditions
Some of our daily rituals may come across as weird. Loafing around at cafés can seem like a waste of time but Croatians do all kinds of transactions there – including business ones. Drinking strong alcohol in the middle of the day? That too, and especially to seal a business deal.
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Croatian art, music and history
On the global level, Croatian art is still under-explored. But in Croatia, artistic expression is incredibly diverse. It spans from centuries old folk art to contemporary music and literature. You can learn a lot about Croatian history just by discovering local art.
When people want to learn Croatian, they focus on the language only. But there is more to our 'talk' than just linguistics. You can understand a lot just from knowing our most common narratives and from getting accustomed to our pitch and intonation. All this is part of Croatian culture.
Fun facts about Croatia
Everyone wants to know fun facts and quirky tidbits about a new culture. So, here are several quizzes you can take to learn about Croatian stereotypes. Examine your level of Croatianess, learn to date in Croatia or meet famous Croatian alter ego.
Why Croatia's biggest asset are its people and all the secrets I can teach you about them
People either love or hate Croatia. There are travellers who come back se deeply in love with Croatia that they immediately want to move there for good. Others have a terrible experience and vow never to repeat it.
Why are their impressions so different? Because of us – Croatian people.
You see, if you only whizz through the country expecting flawless customer service, you will be treated just like any other tourist. And, according to an ancient stereotype, we hate tourists.
Tourists are often disappointed by our (too often) sour faces, sub-par local food in average restaurants, mediocre looking accommodation and overcrowded hot spots. If you stay a tourist, you will experience the downsides of mass tourism and Croatian bad temper.
Yet, it only takes a change of perspective to get a completely different experience.
When you discover Croatia through the eyes of the locals, it is then that you become besotted. Countless times I showed Croatia to my foreign friends, I invited them home to cook for them and they said: time spent with you completely changed my view of Croatia.
So, are we selfish? Yes and now.
Croatians keep a small circle of close friends for whom they would give the shirt off their back. The rest are tourists.
You need to get into that circle, become a friend, a neighbour, an in-law… only then you can experience our limitless generosity. Through us, Croatia becomes one of the best countries to live in.
When you follow my writing on Croatian culture, you will understand how Croatians think and why they behave the way they do. Why do we seem lazy, but really aren't? Why do we grumble but really are quite content… why do we sound angry but really are just expressing our passion?
If you want to know Croatians, being a tourist is not an option.
What you need to know about our sense of time
For the longest time I couldn't grasp the theory of relativity. What does it really mean that time is relative? Then I moved from London back to Zagreb and suddenly I had more time. Everything seemed to move and happen slower than before.
Again, this is another reason why so many people adore being in Croatia. We are laid-back, easy-going, relaxed. We worry less and exude an attitude that everything will somehow, by the power of universe, fall in the right place.
A combination of social factors allows many Croatians to have one foot outside of the rat race. They may have inherited a home, they might have a cushioned job, and some still get organically grown food from their grandparents in the countryside.
This lets us take things easy. We can take afternoon naps, drink wine in the middle of the day, meet friends during working hours, connect holidays into longer vacations.
Definitely. Croatian sense of time is a gift when you already have your basic needs met and when you don't suffer from too much ambition. Perfectionists, career-driven A-personalities and innovative folk will have a much harder time with this nonchalant 'pomalo' (easy does it) mentality.
Still, everything does get done in Croatia. You only need to crack the code. And, as always, people are the code.
As an anthropologist, I love deciphering codes of human behaviour. So, just follow my lead and you'll find the gold too.
How to navigate diversity of Croatian regions
Let's consider some Croatian stereotypes… Dalmatians are lazy but great looking, Zagreb locals (Purgeri) are cultured but snooty, islanders are stingy, Slavonians are good-hearted, Zagorje people are cunning… On top of this, we have an entire matrix of how one microlocal group looks on the other. The relationships are beyond complex, and we are just a tiny land.
Isn't this diversity amazing?
Of course, but only when you know all the nuances. If you don't, and you visit just one place in Croatia, your view will be limited. Or you might visit Zagreb and then Split in a short time period and get a sense of two worlds apart.
Have you heard of that famous saying: 'Two Croats, three parties'? It speaks of our talent to create rivalry wherever possible. No place is too small. Even islands have rival towns.
My mission is to give you a depth of flavour of what Croatians are like in various regions. I will write about mentalities and stereotypes, but also about mainstream cultural customs.
Think of large festivities, such as Christmas and Easter… Well these too are celebrated differently across Croatia. I will bring you as many details as possible. And along the way, there will be lots of history and stories about Croatian intangible heritage.
Let's begin the journey.
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