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Growing Up Croatian

8 May

Growing Up Croatian

I often think about how fortunate I was to grow up with Croatian parents. Even though I was born in Australia, everything about my essence, personality, identity, and upbringing was and is Croatian. 

I thought I’d share some memorable things and give a little insight of my childhood;

I grew up in a household filled with love, praise, encouragement and unmistakably the excessively worrying and strict, yet loving Mom. (lol)

Croatian was my pretty much the only language we spoke at home, my first language.  On the weekends, I’d often go to Croatian school to learn how to read and write and to also learn Folklore dancing. I had a special “Rubina” (Croatian national dress) handmade, long white dress with a red apron and detailed lace stitching made for me by my Aunt. 

Being brought up in a Croatian household, there are some relatable and humorous “rules” Croatian children had to abide by:

  • It was a sin to go anywhere with wet hair or to walk barefoot especially on concrete (especially if you were a girl), and with that, you’d better have countless layers of clothing on as well. This was on the grounds that the wind was going to give me Pneumonia, the special word for that life threatening wind was (propuh), mind you, this will follow you into adulthood.
  • What’s more, you better be on your best behavior at all times! “Pazi sta radis!”, (watch what you are doing) or there will be hell to pay when you get home..lol. A spanking was never far away or out of the question.  Yes a strict upbringing, but I’m glad I was raised that way.
  • I was brought up in a Catholic household, so we practiced many religious traditions around Easter and Christmas, and throughout my childhood i.e.. Christenings, Confirmation, Communion and so forth. We would attend Church every Sunday nice and early.. 8:00am.  There are always Rosary’s and Holy pictures throughout the house, and really throughout any Croatian house.
  • I learned a lot about hospitality, kindness, and the generosity shown to others. This is not only in my family, but I’ve seen with all Croatian families. 

Everyone was always welcome at our home, our house was always super spotless and neat, there was an endless supply of freshly brewed coffee presented in Turkish cups, the ladies would often sit and read their coffee beans accompanied with an array of homemade deliciousness,  Krafne (donuts), Kiflice (pastry and jam desert), cheeses, salamis, pickles, prosciutto, all displayed (the standard table setting), oh and Vegetarianism was not a concept my parents understood..  And most importantly was dad’s homemade Rakija, (fruit brandy) which is made from either pear, apple, grapes, which has about 27% – 40% alcohol in one little shot, one or two of those… you can only imagine the consequences. 🙂

Many fond memories, even if we didn’t come from wealth, I felt rich in love and the pride, heart, and kindness my family put into whatever they did, still lives with me today.

written by Ivanka Savle, our newest Travel Specialist!

Adventures Croatia
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