Croatian Culture

Religion

Croatia is officially a secular state, yet religion has played a large role in terms of informing the cultural values of Croatians. A majority of Croatians identified with Christianity, with 86.3% identifying as Roman Catholic and 4.4% identifying as Eastern Orthodox. Of the remaining population, 1.5% identified as Muslim, 1.5% identified with some other religion, 3.8% identified as non-religious or atheist and 2.5% did not specify (est. 2011). Throughout Croatian history, there has been a close association between ethnic identity and religious affiliation. Croats – the largest ethnic group in Croatia – mostly identified as Roman Catholic, whereas Serbs identified as Eastern Orthodox (see ‘Ethnic Interactions’ in Core Concepts for more information).


Of the Croatian-born Australian population, 74.8% identified as Roman Catholic, 14.5% identified as Eastern Orthodox, 4.2% identified with some other religion and 4.6% did not identify with a religion.


Catholicism in Croatia

Although Croatia does not have an official religion, the Catholic religion has a large and influential role in society. As a branch of Christianity, Catholicism is based on the doctrine of God as the ‘Holy Trinity’, consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Important values within the Catholic faith that manifest in Croatian cultural values include compassion and graciousness. Like most Catholics, many Croatians accept the authority of the priesthood and the Roman Catholic Church, which is led by the Pope.


Previously, it was the clergy that shaped the education and culture of the country, but the church lost much of its influence with the rise of communism. Since the breakup of communist Yugoslavia, the Catholic church has regained some prominence in people’s lives. However, many people do not have a high opinion of the Catholic Church, with some arguing that the church has too large of a presence in the media and in politics. Generally speaking, many Croatians consider themselves Roman Catholic and believe in the fundamental teachings of the religion, but may not be strict in practising their faith through regular church attendance.


Catholicism continues to be an important aspect of the Croatian identity, and influences of the religion are evident in various facets of life. For example, Catholic seminal moments – such as baptism, confirmation and marriage –  are an important part of one’s life and relationships with others. Moreover, Croatians are particularly devoted to the ‘Blessed Virgin’ (‘Gospa’) and sanctuaries can be found throughout the country in her honour. Many will make the pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia, which is home to a sacred Virgin Mary statue.



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Croatia
  • Population
    4,313,707
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Croatian [official] (95.6%)
    Serbian (1.2%)
    Other (3%)
    [2011 est.]
  • Religions
    Roman Catholic Christianity (86.3%)
    Eastern Orthodox Christianity (4.4%)
    Muslim (1.5%)
    Other (1.5%)
    Not Religious or Atheist (3.8%)
    [2011 est.]
  • Ethnicities
    Croat (90.4%)
    Serbian (4.4%)
    Other (4.4%)
    [2011 est.]
  • Cultural Dimensions
    95
    30
    70
    85
    25
    17
  • Australians with Croatian Ancestry
    133,268 [2016 census]
Croatians in Australia
  • Population
    43,688
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Croatia.
  • Average Age
    61
  • Gender
    Male (50.4%)
    Female (49.6%)
  • Religion
    Roman Catholic Christianity (74.8%)
    Eastern Orthodox Christianity (14.5%)
    No Religion (4.6%)
    Other (4.2%)
  • Ancestry
    Croatian (75.0%)
    Serbian (12.7%)
    South-Eastern European (1.1%)
    Other (7.8%)
  • Languages Spoken at Home
    Croatian (63.3%)
    English (17.6%)
    Serbian (12.8%)
    Other (4.3%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 78.2% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (36.2%)
    Victoria (35.3%)
    Western Australia (10.5%)
    Queensland (7.8%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (90.8%)
    2001-2006 (4.8%)
    2007-2011 (1.0%)
Country https://dtbhzdanf36fd.cloudfront.net/countries/157/hr.svg Flag Country Croatia