Sretna Nova Godina! And the 5 Essential New Year’s Eve Questions

Total Croatia News

Mihaela Šego takes us through five crucial questions on New Year’s Eve. 

1. “So, where are you going for New Year’s Eve?” – the question of all questions is asked of me one foggy Tuesday in early November. 

Every year I fear that question.  And every year, it comes up a bit earlier than the last year.  I am pretty sure one year I heard it while I was sunbathing on the beach under the warm August sun.

First of all, the person who is asking that question is usually not asking because he or she is interested in your New Year’s Eve plans. More likely, they just want to brag about their plans:

‘Oh, we just paid for a trip to the Caribbean islands /  I will be having dinner in a submarine on Maldivi’ and the like.

Or they just want to inquire if you, by any chance, are throwing a spectacular party and would you, by any chance, invite them to it? Most likely, they are not asking you that because they are preparing a mega party themselves, and, they would like to invite you as well!

You see, we love New Year’s Eve parties in Croatia. However, when someone else is throwing them, we just adore them.

And of course, at that point, in the middle of a grey Tuesday afternoon, I have no idea where I will I be for New Year’s Eve as I am still trying to make my way through the foggy November!

I was never a big fan of New Year’s Eve parties anyway.  If you would ask me how I would spend the evening in question, I would probably put my winter sweater and old jeans on and escape to the nearest mountain, far away from the pressures of counting down, shiny decorations and loud fireworks – and read a good book with a nice glass of wine. 

It runs in the family, I presume. My grandma Marica – who survived two wars and a few of the Balcanic political systems, and who, I am sure, if she lived in the ancient Greek era, great philosopher Epiktet would embrace in his Stoicism school – when congratulated on the New Year, would wave her arm and with a phlegmatic facial expression and say: 

Hvala, na isti način! / Thanks, same goes for you! And then disinterestedly ad – 

 Ah, Nova, ko i Stara!  / Ah, New year, Old year – what is the difference?

But, the pressure of civilized society, however, has an effect on me – so after successfully ignoring the whole celebration thing and preparing to escape to the nearest mountain, a day or two before the big event, I do have a little social panic attack – the Everybody- is – going – somewhere – but me – story  –  and then the phone rings. 

Some naive friend got tired of waiting for someone else to throw a party and is making one at his place! So, problem solved, right? Wrong. The problem is just about to appear in the shape of my second favourite NY’s Eve question: 

2. What are you wearing for New Year’s Eve? 

From the moment I accept the party invitation, I become a completely different person. My hermit/solitary mountain dreams are contemptuously discarded/rejected and all of a sudden I am living the life of Hollywood star. 

Obviously, in my point of view, I have to outshine all the women at the party, and naturally, I cannot do that in those old jeans and house-sweater! 

It’s December 30th, around 5 PM. I am on a mission to buy a perfect New Year’s dress.

I take a quick look at the mirror squinting one eye and calculate in my head that no personal coach in the world could make me lose the 5 kg I gained from francuska salata, sarma and cakes the last ten days.  Or a plastic surgeon willing to perform a liposuction this afternoon. So I take a deep breath, suck in lift my head high and head towards the nearest shopping mall.

Ambitiously, I stop in front of the first window filled with glittering shiny dresses and promise myself that this year, I will not end up in a little black dress and that I will, in my red – green – or maybe purple dress look refreshingly different than all the other black-dressed women at the party!

So I enter the store and face a bunch of panicking women on the same mission as mine – to look perfect for the following evening. Women are hastily digging through bundles of clothes while Mariah Carey is screaming in the background: All I want for C-mass is youuu.

A few guys or female friends are usually sitting in corners of the store, tinkering with their mobile phones and just waiting for the curtains of the dressing room to open. And then question number 3 appears…

3. Do I look too fat / too tall / too short / too good / too…in this dress?

There is no correct answer to this one, bear in mind. 

In between of all that mess, a sales lady is standing, around 19 years old, with a phlegmatic facial expression under a thick layer of make up, calmly chewing gum and disinterestedly leaning on the counter, with her arms crossed. 

 – Do you have anything in red or purple? – I approached her filled with hope.

– Well, we have this gorgeous black dress – she lazily takes out the beautiful black dress and puts it in front my face. 

– But do you have anything like that in any other colour? – I asked naively.

–  How about this one? – the girl pulls out a gorgeous black dress,  with flashy feathers stiched to the sleeves.

Seriously, I think that women should avoid wearing any kinds of feathers – it looks like a good idea at the start, but instead of looking like a Hollywood diva, you can easily end up looking like Big Bird from Sesame Street. 

– I meant, do you have anything that is NOT black? – I don’t give up.

– What do you mean, not black? – the girl stares at me, chewing on her gum – This would suit you so well! Oh, try it on!

– Do you have it in my size? – I would usually ask at that point.

– No, it’s universal size, it will fit!

At that moment I look at her, seriously considering that she has seeing problems. I am in fact 1.81 m tall, and here I would like to kindly ask manufacturers when shipping clothes to Croatia from a factory on the other side of this beautiful planet, to be aware that there are some seriously tall women living here and that universal size – just doesn’t fit!!!

I roll my eyes at her, but with no time on my hands and even less choice, I try the dress on. 

– It looks great on you! – The girl says with a look of absence on her face – and it’s not short at all!  She goes on while stretching the dress over my knees. 

Well, if I ignore the fact that it looks a little longer than a T-shirt on me, that in fact it is black as it can be, and that I will not be able to appear intelligent at the party, because, as I found out when the girl zipped me / buckled the dress up, I have no air left even to speak – all in all, I have a dress – and at least it’s feather free!  

Just a few more details, involving a completely new haircut, possible, dying / colouring my hair (or just a few highlights?), new high heels – and  I am good to go!


But, the question remains: 

4.  What will I do this New Year’s Eve? Mountains or a glam party?

 I will wear something glittering and have a glass of champagne, and probably watch the fireworks from a balcony – and at midnight try to cross that timeline border as joyfully as I can, like the rest of you, I am sure. 

When I was a little girl, living in the socialist country meant that in the store you couldn’t buy food or cool trademarks they had abroad. So, a few times a year, my parents would pack us up and take us on shopping trips to Austria or Italy.

Waiting for the New Year to arrive reminds me of waiting in those long border lines.  After a long journey, when you spot the border – everything that is left behind you suddenly appears old and unattractive, and a look across the border seems so exciting and sensational – who knows what kind of new things you will find there!

And we are all, at least a bit excited about the New Year, and anxious to leave the old year behind us. But, let’s not reject the old year so fast. After all, we were at one point excited about that year as well. At some point, it just got worn out, and we lost our enthusiasm for it, just like when we purchase shiny white sneakers, and they appear so unique at the beginning. After a few walks in the park and some people stepping on them in a tram  – they all of a sudden feel old.  

For some of us, it was a great year, for some nothing special, for some very hard. However, I am sure that, in your old year, there were some bad and some fantastic moments, like for me. And I am sure that in those great and especially hard moments, you had at least one person who was able to put a smile on your face –  and that is something we can be grateful for in the year gone.

So, enjoy the fireworks no matter what dress are you in, have a glass of champagne, and be sure to thank the people who put a smile on your face and made your year better.  

Well, I will finish this article now and get ready for tonight… 

Wait! I forgot to tell you my 5. favourite question; you will hear a lot of it in the following week or two: 

5. Where did you go for New Year’s Eve?

Sretna nova godina! 

If you want to learn Croatian in 2018, be sure to check out Cro to Go


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