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DUBROVNIK ROZATA

NK is my grandmother who was born and raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Being a local she knows a lot about the city and its folklore. She knows a lot about the local and traditional cuisine. Rozata is a very traditional dessert in Dubrovnik.

 

“Rozata is one of many traditional cuisine in Dubrovnik. This type of desert has been made for special occasions in our family for generations.“

 

What ingredients do you need to make rozata?

 

“well to make it you need:

– eggs 12 pcs.

– sugar 0,22 dkg +0,12 kg (for the caramel)

– milk 1 l

– vanilla bean 1,00 Pc.

– whipping cream 0,35 l

– almonds 0,10 kg

– raisins 0,07 kg

– rum 0,02 l

– candied orange peel .”

 

How do you make it?

 

“You boil the milk and the vanilla bean, mix the eggs and sugar in a separate bowl. Pour the boiled milk through a sieve, cool and carefully add to egg mixture, stirring all the while. After that you want to mix carefully, paying attention that foam does not form at the surface. Then caramelize the remaining sugar and cover the bottom and sides of the forms. Fill the forms with the mixture and place in a medium hot oven in a water bath to fix the cream. When the rozata is half thickened, add a few rum-soaked raisins in the middle of the forms. The finished rozata is removed and cooled. Then you place it in the fridge overnight. Remove from the forms, and pour the melted caramel over the tops. Then you can decorate it and add flavor with whipped cream, thinly cut home-made candied orange strips and toasted almonds.”

 

Rozata has been prepared in my family for as long as I can remember and way longer than that. It has been passed down from generation to generation, but managed to keep your original recipe. I am grateful that I was a part of the generation who had the opportunity to grow up on this exquisite pastry prepared by our grandmothers, and I am even more honored to be able to present and write about it.

Dubrovacka rozata

Childhood

Pticica krade djeci dude varalice (little birdy steals baby’s pacifier, binky)

SK is my mom who’s been living in Croatia for the past 15 years. She told me that both my brother and sister used pacifiers. And then she told me how she got them to stop using them.

Just like here in the United States, parents in Croatia buy pacifiers for their babies to calm them down. And as everyone knows it is hard for a baby to get rid of it. So I asked my mom how did she get my siblings to stop using them.

 

Why did you buy them pacifiers?

 

-It helps a lot, for an example it helps them go to sleep, it calms them down, but they easily get addicted to them.

 

How did you get them to stop using them?

 

-The teachers at the local preschool your brother and sister went to, told the babies when they lost their pacifiers that a little birdy took it and gave it to its baby birds to make it seem ok. I heard it from them and decided to give it a try. And it worked.

 

The whole story about birds steeling pacifiers from babies is ridiculous, but when you think about it, it actually works in this case. A baby can be strongly addicted to its pacifier and a playful story like this one can teach them a lesson of growing up.

Proverbs

Bez muke nema nauke

Bez muke nema nauke

Informant: MK was born in New York, but raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He is a senior in high school. He has an older brother, and a younger sister. While growing up our grandparents would teach us valuable life lessons and most of the time they would use a proverb in doing so. Proverbs are a huge part of our family’s culture.

 

MK heard this proverb multiple times weather it was from a family member, school teacher or even his water polo coach.

 

“Bez muke nema nauke” when translated literally means “Without suffering, there is no learning.” The English equivalent is: No pain, no gain.

 

Have you ever heard of this proverb?

 

“Of course I have, it is a common saying in our community.”

 

Does it have any meaning to you?

 

“The same it means to anyone else that lives in my community. It teaches people a lesson. It’s a valuable lesson that I ended up learning the hard way.”

 

This proverb can be used in multiple occasions in variety of fields. For an example it is most commonly used in sports and schools. In sports without pain, suffering and sacrifice there is no gain, improvement. In schools, it is said when students complain about studying; without spending hours behind a book, one wont learn

Folk Beliefs

Jugo

Jugo

Informant: SK is my mom. She was born and raised in New York, but moved to Croatia in 2002 and has been living there ever since. Living in Dubrovnik she noticed how weather can have an effect on people. She heard this peace of folklore from a colleague at work.

 

Briefly about jugo:

Jugo or Sirocco is a mild, gentle and worm wind. It blows from the sea towards the mainland. During the winter in Dubrovnik, it can blow up to nine days, and sometimes it can take up to three weeks. When the ‘jugo’ wind drops, the sky becomes dark, cloudy, and it begins to rain, while the waves grow rapidly.

 

What’s so special about this particular wind?

 

“People are struggling with time changes, especially if ‘jugo’ is involved. In the old days and even today in some areas, the people of Dubrovnik did not marry or make important decisions during the ‘jugo’. If someone committed a crime, he would not be punished harshly.”

 

It’s was interesting to learn about jugo. It’s fascinating how superstition can go this far. Even today people still believe they are affected by jugo, but of course without the “if someone committed a crime, he would not be punished harshly” part

Folk medicine

Ginger tea for headaches

Ginger tea for headaches

Informant: TF was born and raised in Villa Park, California. His father works in commercial real estate and his mother working as a manager for Choc Hospital. He has one older brother, a twin sister, and one younger brother. TF is half Lebanese and strongly connected to his Lebanese background. He is a first year student at USC. The informant heard this type of medicine from his mother who learned it from her mother who used this kind of medicine all the time when she was a child.

 

Where did you get this information?

“From my mom and she got it from her mom and so on.”

 

So how do you prepare it, and how does it work?

 

“So ginger is traditionally used to treat headaches. You’ll want to mix half a teaspoon ginger powder into a glass of water and drink. Or pour 1 cup of hot water over 1 teaspoon of freshly ground ginger. Let it cool slightly and then drink it. Simple as that. Ginger is particularly effective against migraine, and also helps control the nausea that often accompanies migraine.”

 

Does this folk medicine mean anything to you?

 

“It does, my family has been using this recipe for generation. It became a traditional cure for headaches in my family.”

 

It’s interesting how even with today’s medicine folk medicine is still used. This is proof of that. The recipe so simple and healthier than taking a pill. At the end of the day it’s cool to know that my informants family has been using the same recipe for headaches like his ancestors before him.

Proverbs

Bolje vrabac u ruci, nego golub na grani

Bolje vrabac u ruci, nego golub na grani

Informant: MK was born in New York, but raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He is a senior in high school. He has an older brother, and a younger sister. While growing up our grandparents would teach us valuable life lessons and most of the time they would use a proverb in doing so. Proverbs are a huge part of our family’s culture.

 

My informant heard this proverb from his grandfather and his teacher back in elementary school.

 

What does “bolje vrabac u ruci, nego golub na grani” mean?

 

“The literal translation is better a sparrow in a hand than a pigeon on the branch. The English equivalent of this proverb is “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” This means something you have for certain now is of more value than something better you may get, especially if you risk losing what you have in order to get it.”

 

I think this proverb has a good message to it; don’t selfishly throw away something good just because you think you deserve better. However, I also believe you should never settle. If you truly think something out there is better and you can achieve it, I say go for it. The proverb is applicable sometimes, and not others.

Proverbs

ko nema u glavi ima u nogama

Ko ne radi glavom radi nogama (ko nema u glavi ima u nogama)

Informant: MK was born in New York, but raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He is a senior in high school. He has an older brother, and a younger sister. While growing up our grandparents would teach us valuable life lessons and most of the time they would use a proverb in doing so. Proverbs are a huge part of our family’s culture. MK heard this proverb multiple times weather it was from family members and schoolteachers.

 

What does this proverb mean?

 

“Roughly translated it means one who doesn’t have it in his head has it in his feet. Another version of it is one who doesn’t work with his head, works with his feet.”

 

Does this proverb have any meaning to you?

 

“Yes, it does. My grandmother tells me this almost on a daily basis haha. I got so use to hearing it that it became almost like a joke between me and my grandma.”

 

The proverb explains how if you don’t think, you will have to go back to where you started and do the same thing you should’ve done already. For an example my wallet is in my room and I already left the house to go for lunch, I have to go back home (work my legs) because I forgot it (didn’t think). All in all the proverb is clever and like most of them it teaches a lesson.

Legends

Legend of Lokrum island

Legend of Lokrum island

NK is my grandmother who was born and raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Being a local she knows a lot about the city and its folklore. She first told me this story in elementary school right before I went to Lokrum for a school trip.

“Did you know that the island of Lokrum is haunted?”

 

No, why is it haunted?

 

“well to know why its haunted you have to know the history of the island. Once upon a time, a huge fire spread in Dubrovnik. The fire was so vast it posed a threat to the city and all the citizens in it. In desperation and sorrow, the people of Dubrovnik turned to prayers and promised to build a monastery if they survived. Suddenly the fire stopped. The citizens of Dubrovnik held its promise and built a Benedictine monastery on Lokrum. The monks took care of the island and, for centuries, have turned Lokrum into a paradise. But interest Lokrum aroused by Dubrovnik rich families who wanted the island all to themselves and their own personal benefit. These rich families drove the Benedictines of the island, but before they left the island, they cast a curse on Lokrum.”

 

What was the curse?

 

“After the holding the last mass on the island, right before they left they surrounded the island 3 times in the dark mysterious procession, the persons buried deep inside the hoods lit candles and held them upside down. During the procession, quietly repeated, “Damn everyone who gets Lokrum for personal enjoyment!” And so it was. From that that day on any one who owned Lokrum has died a mysterious death.”

 

After doing some research other versions are really similar and historically the story happened. All owners of the island did die in a mysterious death or had some big tragedy happen in their life. To this day no one owns the island, and I find it interesting how people still believe in the curse.

 

For another version of this story visit http://anavie.net/lokrum-the-cursed-island/

Game

Tucanje jaja (Cracking eggs)

Tucanje jaja (Cracking eggs)

Informant: SK is my mom. She was born and raised in New York, but moved to Croatia in 2002 and has been living there ever since.

 

What’s your favorite thing to do on Easter?

 

“Play cracking eggs.”

 

What’s that?

 

“It’s a game my family plays every Easter.”

 

How do you play it?

 

“Ok, so you need two players, each player has an egg and you hit the egg with the other egg. The egg that’s the least damaged is the winner. The winner as a prize gets to eat the egg.”

 

This game is a traditional Easter game that’s appropriate for all generations, and it’s interesting how from simple things like eggs a family cam make up a game that will bring the family even closer. Having it played on a holiday like Easter makes it even better because the whole family is there.

Folk medicine

Cabbage medicine

Cabbage medicine

 

Informant: TF was born and raised in Villa Park, California. His father works in commercial real estate and his mother working as a manager for Choc Hospital. He has one older brother, a twin sister, and one younger brother. TF is half Lebanese and strongly connected to his Lebanese background. He is a first year student at USC. The informant heard this type of medicine from his grandmother who used this kind of medicine all the time when she was a child.

 

In the beginning of this semester a friend injured his knee. He fell on it while carrying heavy weight. The next day he came to practice and his knee was all swollen. He told us what happened and than my informant TF suggested to put cabbage on it. Both my friend and I were confused thinking he must be messing with us, but then he explained:

 

“Cabbage is used to reduce the swelling. If you hit or injure yourself, you can remove the swelling and bruises with the help of this old folk medicine. Just wrap around two cabbage leaves onto the beaten spot.”

 

This folk medicine sounded really strange. Putting a vegetable on your swollen knee will make the swelling go away sounds ridiculous at first, but if the cabbage leaves are able to absorb the fluids it would reduce the swelling and in that case it makes perfect sense. Of course our friend didn’t try this method, but it is an interesting method and if it happens again I would like to try it and see if it works.

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