Saturday, December 29, 2012

All Saints Day: November 1

Halloween in Zagreb is not quite like it is in the States. No one trick or treats but some people get dressed up and roam around the bars, cafes, or clubs. I went out with Jenn (sans costume) and listened to some live music at a place called Titus. This a little bar in the old town has a nice cozy feel and always plays good music, even when it isn't live ( While Halloween is somewhat uneventful, the following day is a big here in Croatia. Croatia is a Catholic country so they mark the first of November with a national holiday. The holiday was created as a way to honor all of the martyrs of Christianity by the Romans in the 6th century. Today Croatians celebrate it as a day to honor deceased relatives. The tradition in Zagreb is best experienced at Mirogoj, the city's most famous cemetery. 

The tradition requires people to mark the graves of their family members with candles. This means the best time to visit the cemetery is just after dark when you can see the whole cemetary lit by candle light. The picture above was taken on our visit. 

In addition to marking individual graves (as pictured above), people also light candles to honor all of the dead, whether they are buried at Mirogoj or not. This creates a beautiful  "path" of candles. The cemetery itself is also a really great place to visit all throughout the year and one of the top attractions of Zagreb. There are also several monuments like this one below, which pays tribute to the soldiers the first world war. 

In addition to several famous historical figures that have their final resting place in Mirogoj, Franjo Tuđman (in Croatian the đ letters sounds like "dz") is also buried here with the well marked grave pictured below. Tuđman was the first president of Croatia following its independence from Yugoslavia.