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Culture & Identity of Croatia

Introduction

Croatian Culture - Dining in Rovinj
Dining in Rovinj

The Croatian way of life is focused on family, friends, and to a lesser extend also on their Catholic faith. However, the people and their way of life are changing as the country is shifting from a communist-styled economy to a free market economy. In the past many people had jobs in agriculture and industry, but today jobs in these sectors are disappearing in favor of jobs in the services sectors, which is also changing the daily way of life in the country, although much of life remains focused on family.

As a somewhat mountainous country the people are divided geographically as only about 60% of the country's population lives in urban centers. However, due to the geography, there are few good places to grow crops so agriculture is not a real popular occupation. No matter the location, jobs are growing in the services sector, which is also giving people more consistent working hours, generally higher incomes, and also is creating a regular routine that now dictates much of the daily way of life.

For the people with jobs that have regular working hours most work from about 8:30 am to about 4:30 pm. Like many jobs today, the schools in Croatia have fairly regular school hours. Schools are off from about June to August and during this time many Croatian families like to take an extended vacation, either in Croatia itself (often times along the coast or on the islands) or abroad. Again, most vacations are focused on family.

During shorter periods of free time, such as evenings and weekends (Saturday-Sunday), time is again often spent with family. This may just mean staying home with the family for dinner, getting outside to play sports, or anything else. Going out to restaurants and bars is a growing trends, particularly in Zagreb, but again this is just one of many choices on how to spend one's free time.

Identity

The Croatians view themselves as Croatian and that is defined, almost exclusively, by being Catholic, but is also attached to the ethnicity, language, and other aspects of the culture. Being very similar, ethnically and linguistically, to the Serbs and Bosniaks, the Croatians see their ethnicity and language as being distinct from these other two groups, although the greatest differences from one group to the next is religion, food, and other small aspects of the culture. The Croatian identity is extended to include any ethnic Croatian, no matter where he or she lives, as it is not truly a politically-defined identity.

This page was last updated: November, 2013