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srijeda, 11. studenoga 2015.

"Advent In Zagreb" 2015 To Be Extended 10 Days To January 10th.....

And Just What The Heck Is An "Advent In Zagreb" & "Holiday Market Fair" Anyway?.....

Advent in Zagreb 2014, more information and images HERE.

I was just browsing around the newly designed tourism site because I was curious about what they did with it besides changing the official slogan recently, just for curiousity's sake (I must say I like what they did so far though, they included more medieval castles, fortresses, mansions and events and winter scenes and events which they didn't really do all that much of before, example) and that's how I came across and was reminded of this annual event again)

What is Advent in Zagreb you may wonder? What's it all about? Well, like in a number of other cities and towns in Croatia also, and in other European cities, it's when the coming new year holiday season kicks into high gear. These holiday market/fair winter solstice traditions started in medieval times, and many of the traditions are from even well over 2,500 years ago, from pagan times well before the foreign Abrahamic religions and their offshoot cults and sects from the middle east appeared. (just like many folk Easter customs/characters, today's Djed Mraz/Djed Božićnjak/Santa Claus is actually originally the personification of a number of pagan ideas and popular folk characters from way back when we used to be located more north and known as the Veneti/Venedi/Venethi and even by other names, a sort of travelling magician during this time of year). They were temporarily interrupted at times during the peak Islamic and Serb Jihads of the Ottoman empire into Europe centuries ago, but continued again after their defeat when the Croatian crown lands were still poltically within the Habsburg monarchy and then Austria-Hungary. These days it's popular again in Croatia, as well as other former eastern bloc nations that discarded communism after free elections in 1990-91, although they didn't really take off again until after 1995 as Serbs forces and Serb church supported paramilitaries were jubilantly bombing and shelling all kinds of markets in many places throughout the whole year up till then, and these days still celebrate them. (these and similar types of events were especially strictly forbidden and considered degenerate by the former Ex-Yugoslav communist state leadership and their Serb church and nationalist allies because it promoted a peoples history and culture before bullshit communism garbage, as well as state sponsored secret police and before the commie history and commie lingo terms were invented, but the lying commies are gone and dropping like flies now, just a few lingering deaf ones left who can't hear the death knell and they can go suck subversive one-worlder utopianist hairy communist camel ass anyway I say, (or just lead the cockroaches and other insects and vermin to their blissful promised land instead)...pass the cake and wine) And of course Djed Mraz (aka Grandfather Frost, Djed Božićnjak/Grandfather Christmas ie: Santa Claus) and his elves will be around giving all the rosy nosed and cheeked children visions of magical Christmas plum jam filled palačinke, sugar sprinked krafne, kolači, keksi and promises of an exciting new year, and probably new mittens and hats.

Also worth noting before continuing, is that the Croatian Red Nosed Clown Doctors will definitely still be spreading the holiday merriment for the less fortunate kids in the hospitals who can't enjoy the festivities in person, good to know. (More information about them at the link)

This is the time of year when the city of Zagreb turns into a magical pixie dust filled land of wonder and magical awe, sleigh bells, delicacies and music just before the holidays and new year. With the coming of the holidays lots of stalls are set up at different locations throughout the city, the whole city downtown core and old medieval nucleus section gets lit up and decorated. Lots of decorated trees, streets and fountains, but that's not all, that's just the beginning.

Djed Mraz and his elves at the Ice Park during the Zagreb Advent Christmas Market Fair (Croatian: Advent i božićni sajmovi u Zagrebu)

Basically, starting from around November 28th, (and now until Jan 8th instead of just New Year's Eve) there will be tons of events also taking place. All kinds of free food festivals, music concerts (traditional and modern acts), fashion shows, various themed tours, (ghost tours, historical/medieval tours, museum and art gallery holiday events, etc)

Then there will be more sampling of wines, beers, soups, sausages, stews, meats, desserts (lots and lots o' pastries and desserts for sure) and other gastronomy related events, arts and crafts, the evening streets become filled with shoppers, the hungry, with the merry and those who are just curious, people visiting art galleries, theatres, museums, restaurants, sporting events and film festivals, then of course also outdoor ice skating, the nearby skiing events, (specifically the Zagreb Snow Queen FIS Ski World Cup, and don't worry there will more food, music and entertainment events there also) as well as even various children's events and activities. On the weekends all the city trams and buses are free throughout the whole city during the 40 days.

There is also historical re-enactments, horse and carriage rides, lights and fireworks, carolling and various other performances. Just like in the markets of the other European cities, there 's plenty of brightly decorated huts and stalls selling traditional handicrafts: glassware, jewellery, embroidered lace, wooden toys, metalware, ceramics, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, handmade hats, gloves and scarves, puppets and dolls dressed in traditional costumes, and lots of other things related to the holiday season, as well as plenty of entertainment, foods and drinks to try out. Basically 40 days of transporting those in attendance back to the 18th and 19th century times like you just stepped into a classic novel or Disney cartoon. (which reminds me, see recent disney-on-ice-makes-another-stop-in-zagreb post)

Also don't forget your skates if you're going to be in the area, more info HERE.

Just for the heck of it, from a previous photos-of-day-outdoor-skating post, here's a cool rare photo from 1892 of the above Ice Park location today, viewed from the other side with the main train station in the background. 

Yep, the heat and sticky summer days are gone and so Zagreb during this time of year then quite literally transforms into a magical land, a dreamy chimes, candles, decorated trees and floating lanterns wintry kingdom of neverland and land of evermore, but which it really is because it's real. You'll actually come across similar scenes and events in many other cities, towns and municipalities in Croatia during this time of year, but since Zagreb is the capital and largest city, it's the most well known one.

Also, I noticed on some of the local ethnic television channels and programs that plenty of other countries in Europe have similar holiday and new year events in their capital cities also, so I'm not saying that this is the only one or best one, it's just the Croatian version, sometimes they even have local smaller versions take place in their ethnic communities around here. So you'll actually see similar holiday scenes and Advent Christmas Markets like this Advent in Zagreb going on in other cities in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Spain, France and other countries.

It's basically all about celebrating the holidays and welcoming the new year in traditional ways like they did centuries ago, but also including modern day motifs, entertainment and events. And like I said, there's similar markets and fairs going on in the other cities and towns also, in Rijeka, Split, Osijek, Varaždīn, Karlovac, Vukovar, Dubrovnik, Zadar, all over the place. It's a jingly-jangly market vortex of merriment, enterainment, and foods and drinks basically.

There, that briefly just about sums it up, you can view and find out more HERE. The below short videos I came across pretty well explains also. 

More information at the official website:

Scenes from Advent in Zagreb 2014.

(WARNING: there are lots of jingle bells in the next few videos, they're not my videos so don't blame me). Advent festivities on the Main Square.

Advent on Zrinjevac.

Ice Park skating at King Tomislav Square during Advent.

Advent at EU Square in Zagreb.

Advent at the Zagreb Funicular near downtown.

Another recently made Zagreb Advent highlight video.

(Update: some cool related information that came out a month after doing this post, Zagreb was actually chosen as the Best Christmas Market in Europe by voting travellers. The Croatian capital was chosen from over 20 other nominated cities including London, Vienna, Berlin, Stockholm, Strasbourg, Brussels, Manchester, Nürnberg and others. A total of 101,703 votes from 176 countries were received. This is good to know because it just goes to show you that travellers appreciate efforts by the various cities to bring holiday magic at this time of year. See for more information)

And lastly as an extra bonus, tipTravel magazine is a Croatian online travel magazine full of interesting features, travel ideas and stories from destinations in Croatia and even other places around the world. This latest edition will feature Winter in Croatia as the main topic, as well as stories on the Lucerne region in Switzerland, winter in Austria and Slovenia, tourism trends (Green travel trend), and many other topics. Just click onto to check it out for free.

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