United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization (UNESCO) annually publishes a list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity and in need of urgent safeguarding. Croatian culture and traditions such as Klapa singing, Nijemo Kolo ( silent dancing), the Licitar Heart, and the art of bobbin lace making have been recognized by this organization. For the past several years, CroatiaFest has showcased many of these traditions.
Listed below are some traditions that you may or may not be familiar with which are yearly celebrations held in Croatia to this day.
Sinjska Alka The Sinjska Alka is a chivalric tournament that takes place annually, as it has since the 18th century, in the town of Sinj, in the Cetinska krajina region. During the contest, knights ride horses at full gallop along a main street, aiming lances at an iron ring hanging on a rope. The name of the tournament derives from this alka or ring, a word whose Turkish origin reflects the historical co-existence and cultural exchange between two different civilizations.
KARNIVAL OF BELL RINGERS
Karnival of Bell Ringers During the January carnival period, bell ringers march through the villages that dot the Kastav region in north-west Croatia. Clothed in sheepskin throws with bells around their waists and sporting distinctive hats embellished with sprigs of evergreen, two to more than thirty ringers swagger in groups behind a guide carrying a small evergreen tree.
Saint Blaise The evening before the feast of Saint Blaise in Dubrovnik, Croatia, as all the church bells in the city ring and white doves are released as symbols of peace, worshippers gather for a ritual healing of the throat to preserve them against illness.
Slavonske Kraljice The Procession of Queens is performed by the young girls of the village of Gorjani in the Slavonia region of north-east Croatia every spring. Although the meaning and origin of the ritual are uncertain, villagers view it as a symbol of Gorjani and a showcase for their children’s beauty and elegance.
WOODEN CHILDREN’S TOYS
Wooden Children's Toys Villagers along the pilgrimage route to the Marian shrine of Our Lady of the Snow in Marija Bistrica in Hrvatsko Zagorje in northern Croatia developed a technique for traditional manufacturing of children’s wooden toys that has now been handed down for generations.