Christmas holidays on Island Brač begin four Sundays before Christmas. That period is called Advent and represents the preparation for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Christmas time is always a festive and colourful period on the island and customs related to the Christmas holidays have deep roots in Brač tradition. But these customs are kind of different from what we can see in today's Christmas.
Old Christmas customs on island Brač
December 6 - Saint Nicholas (Sveti Nikola or Sveti Mikula)
Today, Saint Nicholas is well-known for bringing gifts to children commending them for their good behaviour over the past year and exhorting them to continue in the same manner in the year to come. But in the old days, Saint Nicholas was mostly celebrated as the patron saint and protector of sailors, of which there were many on the island.
Saint Nicholas is also the patron saint of Gornji Humac, one of the oldest villages on the island so be sure to visit it on this special day.
December 13 - Saint Lucy's Day (Sveta Luce)
Kids received their gifts on Saint Lucy's Day. The night before, the children would leave their socks on the window so that Saint Lucia would fill them overnight.
In the stories, Saint Lucy is often imagined as an old woman riding a donkey, so parents would leave a small lantern in front yards so that she could easily find her way. Also, they would leave some food and water for the donkey.
While the children were falling asleep trying to hear Saint Lucy and worrying about will she find them easily and whether there would be enough food for the donkey.
In the morning, children would find some modest gifts such as oranges, dried figs, almonds or some chocolate bars and wooden crayons. Then they would run outside to check the food and water that they left for the donkey.
December 24 - Christmas Eve (Badnjak or Badnji Don)
In recent times, Christmas trees are decorated on Christmas Eve or even sooner, but in the old days, this custom did not exist. The Christmas Eve customs tell us a story about Badnjak.
Badnjak is a large piece of firewood (log) that people would bring into their houses and make a fire in their fireplaces on it. They would often carve a cross sign and pour red wine on it. Badnjak would burn slowly throughout January 6 and the Feast of Epiphany (Three Kings' Day).
Christmas Eve is also a fasting day so the food is very modest and it includes only one main meal. Most often it is dried cod fish with potatoes called Bakalar na bilo.
December 25 - Christmas (Božić)
Christmas was one of the most festive days in the year, and it included going to holy mass and gathering the family for lunch that included many traditional Brač lamb dishes.
The stars of the table were Fritule (Pršurate) and Hroštule, two old and traditional Dalmatian sweet pastries. Fritule is a must-have festive treat during the Christmas holidays. Every family on the island has its secret recipe for making it and Hroštule is a deep-frying ribbon-shaped dough flavoured with lemon zest and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
December 26 - Saint Stephen's Day (Sveti Stjepan)
After Christmas when everything is about getting together with family, the next day is Saint Stephen's Day and this is a day that we spend with our friends.
This day is also known as kolendavanje which means visiting your dearest friends, eating Fritule and Hroštule and drinking sweet dessert wine Prošek.
Christmas events on island Brač in 2023
Nowadays, Christmas is celebrated on every corner of the island. Each settlement has some special events and venues for Christmas so, in addition to great food, we recommend that you also visit these events:
Božićni kantun in Supetar
In the very centre of Supetar, every day (and night) during December there is a small Christmas fair with various events and a mix of traditional and modern Christmas food and drinks.
You can meet Saint Nicholas, and watch movies and theatre plays. Every night you can enjoy live music and on Christmas Eve you must taste Bakalar na bilo (dried cod fish with potatoes, olive oil and Mediterranean herbs) and Fritule. Here you can find the program by day.
Advent in Postira
A week before Christmas, you can enjoy Advent events in Postira. You can expect children's workshops, pub quizzes, concerts, lots of happy people, traditional food and drinks.
Advent in Pučišća
Christmas time in Pučišća includes many workshops for children, gatherings with Saint Nicholas and Saint Lucy, children's plays and the Feast of Saint Nicholas with a folk festival and live music.
Advent in Milna focuses on children, but every Saturday you can enjoy live music with some traditional Christmas food and drinks.
Advent u Sutivanu
During Christmas in Sutivan, you will be able to watch a children's play, attend concerts, and visit a charity fair.