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Death and Dying in Croatian Culture

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Donna Plourde

on 7 May 2016

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Transcript of Death and Dying in Croatian Culture

Croatia is a small country of 22 thousand square miles located in Southeastern Europe with a population of about 5.5 million people. The population consists of the native Croats, Serbs, Hungarians, and Gypsies (Villanueva, 2014).
Aging Croatians
Many Croatians retire early; age 56 for women and age 60 for men (Pavlic, 2016).
Similar to the retirement process in the U.S., women usually retire earlier than men (Berk, 2014).
Elderly parents are taken in by their children and cared for at their homes rather than placed in a nursing home when they can no longer live independently (Croats, 2008).
A lot lower compared to the 5 percent of Americans aged 65 and older who live in nursing homes (Berk, 2014).
Croatian view on Death
Since majority of Croatians are Roman Catholic, many follow the belief in life after death (Croats, 2008).
Although they mourn when a loved one passes, they believe that person has risen above with God and moved on to their life after death (Croats, 2008).
Croatians celebrate this persons new life after death by gathering and feasting following their burial in honor of the death (Croats, 2008).
Similarities to Death and Dying in the U.S.
Approximately 40 percent of Americans die in hospitals and 20 percent die in care facilities such as nursing homes (Berk, 2014).
In Croatia, dying in one's own home or family home is much more common than dying in facilities (Croats, 2008).
Many American elders feel that they may be a burden to their family members to take care of them (Berk,2014).
In Croatia, elders expect their family to care for them when they no longer can (Croats, 2008).
Cultural Background
Majority of the population are Roman Catholic (Gilliliand, 2006).
The Catholic Church is a large part of Croatian society (Gilliliand, 2006).
Croatians are very family oriented
Family members are extremely close to each other on both the maternal and paternal side; one big family (Gilliliand, 2006).
No work or business on weekends; family time.
Women are of equal status to men
Grandparents highly respected in family (Gilliliand, 2006).
Family members are the preferred caretakers for children; daycare is not common like it is in the U.S. (Gilliliand, 2006).
Death and Dying in Croatian Culture
Rites of Passage
The rites of passage that still remain in Croatian society today are baptism, marriage, and death (Croats, 2008).
Roman Catholic rituals are conducted for deaths.
Included in a death ritual is a funeral mass, service as the grave, laying flowers on graves, and marking gravesides with headstones to honor and remember the person (Croats, 2008).
A wake is held in a building at the cemetery a few hours before burial and then the mourners follow behind the casket to the grave (Croats, 2008).
Following the burial, a lunch gathering is held called a karmin (Croats, 2008).
Mirogoj Cemetery, Zagreb Croatia (Wanderlust).
Roman Catholic Church in Zagreb, Croatia (Backpacking).
Similarities to Death and Dying in the U.S.
The U.S. and Croatia share very similar rites of passage within their societies.
Both incorporate baptism, marriage, and death as rites of passage (Berk, 2014).
Death rituals in both cultures include a funeral mass, ceremony, and burial.
Although these traditions are very similar to the U.S. culture, a lot varies on each families religion and views on death and dying.
Berk, L.E. (2014).
Development through the
New Jersey: Pearson Education.

(2008). Retrieved from http://

Pavlic, V. (2016).
Croatians Could Face Tougher
Requirements for Early Retirement.
Retrieved from https://www.total-croatia-

Villanueva, M. (2014).
A Deeper Understanding
of Croatia’s Culture
. Retrieved from http://

I chose to study the Croatian culture's view and traditions on death and dying after reading about the culture in my multicultural course. I decided to learn more about Croatians, specifically their traditions on death and dying for this presentation.
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