Friday, 22 April 2022

The Road to Freedom: Vukovar Welcomes Ukraine from the Front Line

April 22, 2022 - Croatia 1991 - Ukraine 2022: The Road to Freedom. Meet Vukovar 365, full of compassion. The city that is still recovering over 30 years later knows the pain. Its people have been through hell and back. They would not wish this upon anyone, yet it's happening. Ukrainian people have always been Vukovar's friends, their culture enriching the area that this minority has historically been a part of. Not that we should seek reasons to help, but the people of Vukovar have got plenty and they are always willing to step up.

Hrv reports on a conference that was held in Zagreb, titled "Croatia 1991 - Ukraine 2022: The Road to Freedom", citing Vukovar's hero war reporter Siniša Glavašević who said, "You have to rebuild. First, your past, your present, and then, if you have any strength left, invest it in the future".

As the title suggests, the topic of the conference was the similarities between the ongoing war in Ukraine with the war that Croatia fought in 1991 to gain its independence and freedom. Damir Luka Saftić, representative of the "Za Vukovar" association commented that the pearl of the Danube bled 31 years ago like the Azov Sea's Mariupol is today, saying that "the resemblance is appalling".

The participants of the conference included Vasilj Kirilič, Ambassador of Ukraine to Croatia, Željka Antunović, former Minister of Defense, Yevhen Stepanenko, Ukrainian journalist, Tomislav Marević of the Croatian Civil Protection Directorate, Robert Barić, military analyst, Jakov Sedlar, film director, and Vukovar veterans Damir Poljaković and Tomislav Orešković.

"Croatia has defended its independence and the message for Ukraine is that it can do so too because we are strong in spirit and I believe that we will defend our country. The city of Mariupol is a symbol of defense, as is the Croatian city of Vukovar", said Ambassador Kirilić.

"When you know that your whole family, wife, child, and parents are in the basement, your whole city is in that basement, everyone from your street, friends, your football club, factory, then your strength appears from somewhere and it was either us or them, there was nothing else," said Damir Poljaković, a Vukovar hero who defended the city in 1991 at Trpinjska cesta.

Following the conference, and with Orthodox Easter approaching, the city of Vukovar in partnership with the local Red Cross organised a humanitarian donation action for the Ukrainian refugees in the city. 

A total of 40 refugees from Ukraine are accommodated in Vukovar, writes hrv, which includes 16 families with 18 children. To provide assistance in difficult times, but also to celebrate the upcoming Easter holidays, the City of Vukovar and the Vukovar Red Cross Society provided special food packages for refugees from Ukraine in the Vukovar area, as well as candy packages for the youngest.

The packages were handed over to the Ukrainian people by the Deputy Mayor of Vukovar, Filip Sušac, who emphasized that the City of Vukovar, in cooperation with the Red Cross, is trying to make life easier for refugees. "The city of Vukovar has decided to help Ukrainians who are in the area of ​​our city through a series of measures. In cooperation with the City Museum, the City Library, and sports clubs, we have ensured that all Ukrainian refugees can use their services completely free of charge. The City of Vukovar has called on all fellow citizens to help the refugees as much as they can, and we appeal to the Government of the Republic of Croatia to make Hostel Zagreb available - explained Sušac.

Marija Semenjuk Simeunović, Secretary of the Ukrainian Community of the Republic of Croatia, emphasized that all persons who came from war-torn Ukraine feel welcome in Croatia and thanked everyone for their support.

"Displaced persons who came from Ukraine to our city, county, but also the Republic of Croatia, in general, feel welcome. We have all shown compassion and solidarity in some way, especially since we went through the horrors of war 30 years ago. Through their programs, our Ukrainian associations from the entire Republic of Croatia want to include and integrate the Ukrainian people into our society", said Semenjuk Simeunović.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Plenković Wishes Happy Easter to Displaced Ukrainians

ZAGREB, 17 April 2022 - After attending Easter mass on Sunday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković wished a happy Easter to everyone, notably to the displaced Ukrainians who were at the service.

"This is a time when we can all together examine in peace what we do, our actions, our decisions, try and collect our thoughts and be even better, towards others, towards those most in need," he said.

"I'm pleased that the displaced from Ukraine were also at mass today, mainly mothers with their children, which once again speaks to how big the tragedy is which this Easter and for more than 50 days now has befallen the Ukrainian people. That's why I'm pleased that Croatia is once again showing a big heart and giving great support to the Ukrainian people and those who, in these difficult circumstances, have found a temporary home in Croatia," the prime minister said.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Easter Traditions: Pisanice, Humanitarian Efforts and the Red Wine Custom

April 17, 2022 - In addition to the obvious religious aspects of the time around Easter, this Spring the Croatian community in the Boston area decided to reenergize around the preparations for this holy time, including the traditional art of decorating Easter eggs with wax and candle flame.

The Croatian School of Boston, a not-for-profit organization focused on educating adults and children about the Croatian language and culture, has one more time organized the “Pisanice Workshop” for children and adults. Biserka Ralić, Lidija Ortloff, Irena Matulić, and Irena Rašin have been, as usual, the driving forces behind the school and the Pisanice Workshop. 

The art of making pisanice with wax and candle flame was led again by Lidija Ortloff, who has been passing it to the younger generations for several years. Lidija Ortlof, originally from Zagreb, Croatia, and Olya Baryski, originally from the Lviv area in Ukraine, have been friends in the Boston area for many years. They have both been directly involved in teaching younger generations (in schools or universities). Unfortunately, due to the situation in Ukraine, Olya is, from a distance in Boston, so busy helping many friends and families who are moving into her hometown of Lviv, that she could not make the workshop this year. However, to honor Olya and her family and people specifically in Lviv, the Croatian community has collected donations to send directly to Olyia’s friends and family in Ukraine, with sincere wishes for a resolution. 

A group of people sitting at a table with food and drinks

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Source: Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc.

“Koliko Kapi, Toliko Krvi” - It is Good For You to Drink Wine 

It is believed that if one drinks red wine on Good Friday, it will go directly to strengthen the blood and heal the body.  Thus, wine is found in abundance on the celebratory Easter table. At least in Dalmatia, where the red wine is traditionally diluted with water (bevanda), this custom is turned around on Easter. The red wine from Dalmatia, such as Plavac Mali, Zinfandel/Tribidrag, or Plavina and Babić, are enjoyed in their pure form. And, so are Teran or Borgonja in Istria. 

So, after the religious festivities, the only dilemma is how to choose which Croatian wine for your Easter dishes. I will leave that up to you. Happy Easter and peace on Earth! 

About the Author: Mirena Bagur, Mag.Oecc., is the founder of the Boston-based Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc.,, an online store with 70+ indigenous Croatian wines shipped to most US states. As a long-time resident of Massachusetts, where she is the president of New England Friends of Croatia, a not-for-profit organization focused on creating awareness about Croatian culture in the US, Mirena promotes the wines of Croatia in collaboration with the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Croatian National Tourist Board and the Republic of Croatia’s Embassy and Consulates. 

A picture containing text, drink

Description automatically generated

By: Mirena Bagur, founder, Croatian Premium Wine Imports, Inc. 

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Large Croatian Easter Eggs Set Up in Argentinian City of Mendoza

ZAGREB, 16 April  2022 - Local artists have placed large Easter eggs, which are 2.5 metres high and 1.6 metre wide, in the centre of the Argentinian city of Mendoza, following the Croatian tradition of putting on display big Easter eggs in town squares, the Argentinian news agency Telam reported on Saturday.

Nora Vicario, the head of the city department for culture in this western Argentinian city, was quoted as saying that they had learnt about this beautiful custom from the local Croat community.

Representatives of the Croat community are included in the jury that will declare the best three Easter eggs staged in the centre of Mendoza for Easter holidays.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.


Saturday, 16 April 2022

Croatian Presidents Issues Easter Greeting Message

ZAGREB, 16 April 2022 - President Zoran Milanović stated on Saturday in his Easter message that "in these difficult times when there is a serious threat to peace, Easter must remind us that good, solidarity and love for our neighbour is the most important not just religious, but also universal secular principle."

Wishing a blessed and holy Easter, the president says that this greatest Christian holiday "has always given people faith in the victory of light and good, as well as a new beginning."

"This year we are celebrating Easter with wounds that have yet to be healed as a result of the earthquakes and the pandemic in our Homeland, but also exposed to challenges and threats to peace, threats we believed were in the past."

"Confronted once again with war losses and the suffering of people in Europe, our common home, all of us in Croatia are quite aware of the meaning and the value of peace among people and nations," says the Croatian head of state.

He also underscores that  "for the faithful, Easter is a time to contemplate one’s personal choices and reflect on one’s actions."

"Let us accept the principles of good and love as a path towards strengthening mutual solidarity and understanding in the hope that all people will celebrate Easter, the greatest Christian feast, in peace and joy, surrounded by family and friends," says Milanović who at the end of his message wished a happy and blessed Easter to all who are celebrating this holiday in Croatia and abroad, "and to all our fellow Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina."

For more, check out our politics section.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

Parliament Speaker Extends Easter Greetings

ZAGREB, 16 April 2022 - Sabor Speaker Gordan Jandroković says in his Easter message that this Christian holiday encourages the promotion of peace, forgiveness and charity, and he calls for thinking of all who are suffering and who have lost the hope and joy of their life in these fast-changing times marked by the Ukraine war.

Wishing a happy Easter to the Croatians in the country and abroad, the parliament speaker said on Saturday that Easter is a holiday of families and reflects the importance of the family blessing and care for children and the youth who have passed through the very demanding last two years marked by the pandemic and earthquakes.

"This greatest Christian holiday urges us to strengthen togetherness, mutual respect and respect for diversities as well as to strengthen solidarity to ensure that every human being can have a dignified life," says the Parliament Speaker, among other things.

Saturday, 16 April 2022

PM Plenković Wishes Happy Easter

ZAGREB, 16 April 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Saturday issued a message with the best wishes for Easter and calls for showing solidarity with those in need in the Croatian society as well as with all persons whose lives and freedoms are threatened by the war and military aggression in Ukraine.

In the light of the greatest Christian holiday, I wish a happy Easter and health, peace, love and family togetherness, Plenković said underscoring that our thoughts are with those in need in the Croatian society as well as with all persons whose lives and freedoms are threatened by the war and military aggression in Ukraine.

May the power of Christ's resurrection give us faith and hope about overcoming all the difficulties and challenges we are faced with and about building better mutual understanding and respect in the society, says the premier.

He also underscored that the Croatians are called on to care for the future and survival of the Croatian nation, with demographic revitalisation being an essential a prerequisite for that.


Friday, 15 April 2022

Sirnica: A Croatian Easter Delicacy

15 April 2020 - Sirnica or Pinca, is an indispensable part of any Easter table. Here’s a look at this traditional Croatian Easter delicacy and how you can try your hand at making your own!

Just a couple of days ago, I was having coffee with some colleagues and discussing Easter plans. A few were lamenting how far behind they were in their Easter baking, while others were exchanging recipes for all the delicious goodies, they were planning on making in the run up to Easter Sunday.

Since we were speaking of Easter treats, I simply had to ask “but, why is it when I translate Sirnica, Google tells me it’s cheesecake? But there’s no cheese in the recipe?”, “because it looks like cheese! With the shape and color”.

“Right! I think I’m going to try making it this weekend”, I said in full confidence of my amateur baking skills. A collective “noooooooooooooooooo!” ensued. “I don’t make it for Easter. No one does, only old ladies who have the time. Ma dai! So much work, almost 24 hours to finish it, waiting for it to rise and then kneading it, and rising again. No, no, I just buy it instead”.

What is Sirnica you might ask?


Before you know it, you've consumed the entire Sirnica. Image: Pinterest/Screenshot

Sirnica, as it’s known along the coastal regions of Croatia and Pinca, everywhere else, is a brioche-type sweet bread that graces every Easter holiday table. About a month before Easter, these orangey/yellow boules, topped with pearl or coarse sugar crystals, start lining the shelves of bakeries, cafes, and grocery stores.

At Easter, Sirnica is typically served along with a host of other delicious assorted kolači (sweet pastries). This is often accompanied by rich dishes like cottage cheese, eggs, ham and roasted lamb and fresh Spring vegetables like young onions and radishes, from the first harvests after Winter.

Rumor has it that Sirnica was created during the Venetian times, with some saying it may have even gotten its name from the dough resembling cheese during the mixing and kneading process, but the true origins of the confectionery remain unknown.

Historically, Sirnica would be made on Maundy Thursday, the day before Easter Friday commemorating the Last Supper of Christ. Families would then wrap them in cloth, letting the Sirnica rest before taking a loaf to Sunday Mass for it to be blessed and shared with the family after.

Today, each family has their own recipe, family secrets passed down through the generations. If you’d like to make your own, here’s a recipe you can follow from the book “Sweet Korčula” by Mrs. Franice Tasovac and bring a small part of Croatia's Easter traditions into your own home.

Sretan Uskrs everyone!


Their signature hue comes from the large quantity of eggs this recipe calls for. Image: Pinterest/Screenshot.

Ingredients - makes 6 Sirnica

6 egg yolks

3 egg whites

250 g white sugar

8 g vanilla sugar

300 ml of milk

120 g of fresh yeast

1½ teaspoon salt

250 g butter

1.2 kg of flour

1 lemon peel

2 orange peels

1 tablespoon rose rakija or brandy


1 egg white

1 tablespoon rose rakija or brandy

50 g Pearl sugar or white sugar


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Crumble the fresh yeast with milk, stir in 200g of flour and allow the mixture to double.
  3. Mix the eggs with both sugars and salt, whisk until the mixture becomes frothy.
  4. Add brandy, lemon zest and orange zest to the egg mixture.
  5. When the dough has doubled, add in the melted butter and egg mixture. Start kneading the dough with your hands, gradually adding the remaining 1kg of flour. Old housewives say that you should be very angry before you start making dough and then vent your anger by kneading the dough with your hands.
  6. Add the flour until you have a plush, brioche-like dough that is not too stiff. You might not use the full 1kg of flour. Cover the bowl with the dough and let it double.
  7. Once doubled, knead the risen dough and divide it into six pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and leave them to rise on a sheet lined with greaseproof paper for one to two hours.
  8. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius. Before baking, use scissors to cut a cross or a Y-shape into each dough ball and bake for 40 minutes.
  9. Using a fork, mix a little egg white with rakija, and brush the Sirnica towards the end of baking.
  10. Sprinkle with beaten sugar and return to the oven for a couple of minutes to allow the coating to dry.
Friday, 15 April 2022

Contents of a Slavonian Easter Basket: From Eggs to Green Onions

15th of April 2022 - The most important Christian holiday is almost here which means plenty of food and traditions that have been part of Croatian culture for centuries are in focus. A look at the contents of a Slavonian Easter basket. 

With Lent being over on Palm Sunday, Holy Week and the final days before Easter have begun. Of course, that means believers who participated in relinquishing and fasting during Lent can finally start eating normally, except on Good Friday when fasting is strictly prescribed. Preparations for Easter include a lot of cooking and preparing sweet pastries to celebrate Jesus’s resurrection. Good Thursday is dedicated to the remembrance of Christ’s Last dinner and no one can work on their soils or crops. As already mentioned, Good Friday includes a strict fast with only one proper meal allowed, which symbolizes Jesus’s torment and death. After Good Friday, Good Saturday is reserved for silence and preparations of said meals that have everything from heavy meat to spring vegetables and more. However, the most important part of the Easter celebration is definitely an Easter basket, which contains a variety of foods reserved for blessing and later for Easter celebration, most commonly as a breakfast on Easter itself.

Easter Eggs 

Most things in the basket are definitely Easter eggs (pisanice), or boiled chicken eggs with beautiful handmade designs that differ from family to family. This custom of decorating and gifting eggs was known throughout Europe, especially among Germans, Scandinavians, and Slavs. Even its age is confirmed by archeological grave finds. When it comes to Christianity, the egg is a symbol of the new and eternal life that Jesus made possible for people through the resurrection. In Croatian traditional culture, the custom has remained to this day. In the past, only domestic homemade colors were used for painting eggs and they were obtained from broccoli, onion peel, nettle, various grasses, and many more. Aniline dyes became popular much later. Wax was applied to the egg by a special funnel-shaped pen or pinhead; this technique also made it possible to obtain multicolored ornament. These traditional ways of painting Easter eggs came back - more and more people fall back to old customs because of healthy and more organic ways of painting. On Easter morning, eggs are put to use - children break eggs to determine who has the strongest one.  


Colored Easter eggs and spring flowers on Easter (photo credit: Private album)

Unleavened bread

As we know a lot of Christian traditions are shared with Jewish customs and unleavened bread is part of that as well. It symbolizes Christ’s body and according to Bible, was present at Christ’s Last dinner. There are a lot of variations of bread throughout Croatia like normal pogača, pinca, however, unleavened bread is a customary Easter bread in Slavonia and represents sacrifice. Its texture is somewhere between hard and soft and has a neutral flavor which fits amazingly well with other Easter basket components.

If you’re interested in making this bread, here is my family’s recipe that’s been used every Easter for decades: 

0,5 kg of smooth flour

1 package of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

4 egg yolks

1 egg

1 tablespoon of pork lard

10 dag of butter


Mix with milk so that it is neither soft nor hard. Let it sit for 10 minutes, after that put it in a small bowl with a diameter of 18 cm. Grease the bread really well with lard and put the bread in the oven preheated to 180°C. Bake it for 30 minutes, take it out, coat it with egg yolk and milk mixture using a brush, put it back in the oven, reduce the temperature to 150°C and bake it for 25 minutes more.

There you go! You have a proper Slavonian bread that’s part of every Easter basket.


 Easter breakfast with food from Easter basket (photo credit: Private album)


Fragrant-cooked ham is certainly the main star of the Easter table and what evaluates the quality of its preparation is juiciness. The type of meat is really important but the best is definitely pork meat or rather pork leg which is considered the “real” ham. Other than classic cooked ham that we know and love, there is an alternative - ham wrapped in pastry. Again, its preparation varies from family to family and the quality of the meat is determined by the financial status of the people who prepare it.

If you’re interested in the preparation of cooked Easter ham, check this recipe here.


The so-called spring queen of health and a vitamin bomb. Although radish is primarily associated with the Easter table, many people buy this vegetable because of its rich nutritional composition and medicinal properties. Indispensable food of every Slavonian Easter basket.

Green onion 

If it's planted before Spring, green or young onions are definitely an unavoidable vegetable for the Easter basket. Strong, spicy, and its intensive smell with ham bring something really special to every Slavonian household on Easter. Like radish, it is a great ingredient in a variety of Easter salads.

Sweet cakes and pastries

Last but not least, cakes and pastries are a must in every Slavonian Easter basket. From usual pies like cakes like mađarica, chocolate pie, white pie, honey pie, so-called Katherine (Katarina kolač), and coconut-walnut cubes that were and still are a staple for Slavonian desserts through decades, small cakes, pastries, and cookies are getting more and more popular in recent years. Likes of išleri, baskets (košarice), rum balls, linzers, triangles and so many more. Cherry or apricot strudel is also a recent pastry baked and consumed on Easter. Breskvice (peaches) as well - signature Slavonian cake. 


Sweet cakes and popular pies in Slavonia (photo credit: Private album)


Salt is also part of the blessed Easter basket with candles that will be lit on Easter breakfast and other various items that believers want to bless.

As said in the beginning, Easter is the most important Christian holiday. It celebrates Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. Throughout the centuries, Croatians managed to save huge parts of their cultural and traditional heritage and it’s not a coincidence that Easter customs are one of the oldest traditional practices in Croatia’s history. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a believer, everyone is welcome to try the contents of a Slavonian Easter basket, take it, and in the end, try to make these delicious meals for themselves. At the end of the day, this is the time, not just for sacrifice, but for sharing and love as well.

Sretan Uskrs!

For more about lifestyle in Croatia, visit our dedicated TCN page.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Good Friday With Fasting Meals For Citizens From 10 AM in Vinkovci

14th of April 2022 - The City of Vinkovci, the Independent Trade Union (DZZP) and the Vinkovci Technical School, along with the support of multiple companies from Vinkovci, have announced the distribution of fasting meals for all citizens on Good Friday.

As writes, the now traditional event that occurs every Good Friday before Easter will have fish and potato salad on the menu this year as well. Future chefs, more precisely the students of the Vinkovci Technical High School will be in charge of preparing the food.

Mayor Ivan Bosančić will also take part and help in the morning food giveaway in front of the Vinkovci Gymnasium (School) from 10:00 on Vinkovci’s main square. He emphasised that meal itself is not the main motive for gathering people together, but that going out to the square and spending time together in the festive spirit is the point, as we celebrate the greatest Christian holiday, Easter.


Everyone is happy to respond when it comes to celebrating traditions like this - the Trade unionis, the City, various donors and of course, the hardworking student chefs who will prepare more than one thousand portions of meals for the occasion. Whether it’s Good Friday or Christmas Eve, a sense of togetherness is the most valuable part of it all.

Let us also remind ourselves that Good Friday is one of the two days of strict fasting in the liturgical year, with Ash Wednesday when Lent begins.

Fasting for Catholics means taking only one full meal a day as opposed to fasting when eating the usual three meals except meat. Strict fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday isn't just fasting, but the practice of abstinence at the same time, which means believers on that day eat only one full, modest and simple meal to the brim. Good Friday is a day of renunciation and penance and in that sense, the meal served on the table should be exactly like that.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Page 1 of 4