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Dubrovnik, nicknamed the Pearl of the Adriatic, is an exceptional destination for travelers at any time of year. For the predominantly Catholic nation, however, Easter is a particularly meaningful celebration.
The city comes alive with tradition in the days leading up to Easter Sunday, making it the perfect time to truly understand the local culture and religion. If you are planning an upcoming trip to Dubrovnik, time it around Easter to pack in all of these exciting attractions and customs.
Visiting a Local Church on Palm Sunday
The week leading up to Easter begins on Palm Sunday, which marks the start of the Catholic Church’s Holy Week. Palm Sunday is also when much of Dubrovnik begins its annual celebration of the Easter holidays.
Since palm tree branches are scarce in the area, olive or rosemary branches are used instead. These branches are taken to local churches and blessed during the Palm Sunday services and then put up around the home as decoration.
Visiting Dubrovnik during Holy Week means seeing lots of this greenery, called poma, up in stores, restaurants, public squares and local homes.
Good Friday’s Procession Under the Cross
On Good Friday, or the Friday before Easter, a large procession takes place throughout the city of Dubrovnik. Called the Procession Under the Cross, the event consists of dozens or even hundreds of religious men carrying wooden crosses on their banks for several miles through the city and the surrounding suburbs.
Meant to signify the burden that Jesus carried, this is a somber procession. However, after the trek is over the city comes alive with biblical reenactments, music and dance to celebrate.
The Eggs of Holy Week
Eggs are decorated in the days leading up to Easter and then eaten on Easter Sunday. While modern Croatian eggs come in many colors, the most common is red thanks to the abundance of beets, which were used as a natural red dye.
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Melted wax is used to write messages on the eggs before dipping them into the colored dye, and children and adults alike create beautiful works of art on these eggs.
On Easter, uneaten eggs are used in a game called kockanje where two players hit their respective boiled eggs together with the unbroken egg being the winner.
Traditional Easter Cuisine in Dubrovnik
When planning an international getaway, the local cuisine is always a part of the equation. Over Easter, there is no shortage of amazing foods to enjoy in Dubrovnik and throughout Croatia.
A typical Easter Sunday breakfast consists of colored boiled eggs, ham with horseradish, fresh homemade bread and lots of spring onion. For dessert, pinca, an Easter bread that is very rich and sweet, is served.
Since pinca contains eggs, which are typically not eaten over Lent, it is considered to be a special treat.
Easter often boasts the perfect climate in Dubrovnik with cool temperatures and sunny skies. This celebration also offers incredible culture, cuisine and events to fill your getaway with unforgettable memories.