Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas time on Hvar

Traditional cake - Pašurate [image source]

It is not likely that you will have a 'white' Christmas on our sunny island, but if you are looking for an authentic experience of Hvar's glorious tradition, it's a perfect time of the year to visit us. What is special about Christmas on Hvar? Home made cakes, family gatherings, singing Charismas songs, visiting old churches and decorating the Christmas tree do not make us so much different from any other part of Croatia or elsewhere in the Christian world, but what local people still cherish with great pride and grace is a spirit of old times and tradition which come alive year after year at Christmas time. The time seems to stop for a while just to remind us of the real values of life. By coming home for Christmas, we come back for what we left behind – for the spirit of family, spirituality, tradition, friends, all the tastes and sounds that remind us of our childhood and make us feel peaceful and happy.
The day before Christmas is called “Badnjak” or “Bodnji don”, if you are a Hvar native. By tradition this is the day when we decorate a Christmas tree. Most attention is paid to the Nativity scene which exhibit, below the Christmas tree, figures representing the infant Jesus, his mother Mary, and Mary's husband, Joseph. Usually nativity scenes include other characters from the Biblical story such as shepherds and angels. The figures are usually displayed in a stable, or cave and around it.
Hvar women are traditionally engaged in making traditional cakes called pašurate (look and taste like mini donuts). Bakalar (codfish) or any other fish is served for lunch, and the whole family starts to get ready for “Ponoćka”, the midnight Mass, celebrating the birth of Jesus. Singing traditional Christmas songs a capela, by amateur church choirs composed of men, women and children of all generations, greatly enrich the distinctively festive mood of “Ponoćka”.
Christmas itself is a family day. Gifts are exchanges together with the best wishes on Christmas (Sretan Božić = Merry Christmas). After the morning Mass, everyone gathers round the table to enjoy the rich Christmas menu. Meat dishes are served at this occasion after which a whole spectrum of home made cakes follows. It is common to spend the Christmas day at home with family in festive yet intimate atmosphere.
Since it is time of giving, let us share with you a recipe of a traditional Hvar cake called Pašurate. It is very simple but delicious. Hope you will enjoy it.
¼ boiling water
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 tea cup of rough flour
1 egg
Lemon peel
Orange peel
A little bit of fresh orange juice
Vanilla sugar
2 teaspoons of rum
2 teaspoons of grappa
A bit of fine flour
Leave it to raise
Use a teaspoon to shape it and they fry in boiling oil

Merry Christmas! Sretan Božić!

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