If you ever find yourself in Croatia during Holy Week, enjoying a vacation on island of Hvar you might have chance to witness one of the most remarkable traditions in Croatia. This event that has history of over 500 years is so unique and memorable that UNESCO decided to put it on the list as intangible world heritage in 2009.
In Vrbanj, Vrboska, Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik and Svirče, six charming little villages of central Hvar traditional procession is held every year, on the night between Holy Thursday and Good Friday. If you would witness this event you would be under impression that Hvar has returned hundreds of years back into the past, in the time when island was under Venetian rule and lives of the people were dominated by small number of local nobleman. After long period of oppression thing were just about to explode in a bloody conflict. In this turbulent time, it has been recorded that a small golden crucifix, kept in one of the altars of Hvar cathedral started to miraculously bleed. This miracle, obviously, had such large impact on the people of Hvar, that it postponed the revolution which was about to happen and started this remarkable traditional religious feast. Miraculous event happened at the start of the XVI century so as a result procession that is organized every year to commemorate it, has very historical ambiance. People participating in the procession wear traditional outfits, the hoods of guilds and fraternities, which date back in the medieval time. They chant old songs on archaic dialect while carrying chandeliers and following the cross bearer.
Each of the 6 processions starts from parish church in each of those six villages at 10:30 PM and they have to make full circle, over 25 km of rocky hill trails, through all the 6 villages and back to the starting point, in the morning hours of the next day. To be the Cross bearer, is the most prestigious task and a great honor, which is one in a life time opportunity. If a person wants to become cross bearer his name will be put on the list during his early childhood. The waiting list is so long that it will take 20- 30 years until he gets a chance to carry the cross. Arguably the honor and the prestige of being the cross bearer comes with cost. Cross weights around 20 kg and you have to carry it barefoot for 8 hours with no chance for a rest, because cross must not touch the ground. Tradition of this procession has never been interrupted in five centuries of its existence. It was always organized, even in the darkest times of the WW II, during the occupation, or even in exile of a refugee camp El Shatt, in deserts of Egypt, where island inhabitants had to take shelter during bitter fights on the Island in 1944.
This year is going to be a special one, smallest ever. Due to the pandemic, there will not be the people participating, just a Cross bearer with a few of his most trusted men. But in minds, there will be many, many more people united!
„Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea.”
Pythagoras (580 BC - 500 BC)
Without any doubts Pythagoras said smart words about salt in BC time. Salt was of high value to the Jews, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese and other people of antiquity. Although nowadays salt is one of the most common ingredients on our table, in the past it was called „white gold“ because it was fundamental for the preservation of food.
Salt has played a prominent role in determining the power and location of the world's great cities. Salt created and destroyed empires. One of this big empires was Roman empire who left many salt works after them.
Croatia has a very diverse history linked with salt works. Historically, in terms of salt in Croatia, the oldest known document comes from the year 542 CE and is linked to the former Brijuni Saltworks. One of the oldest salt pans in Europe, in Croatia, in Ston, a coastal town just north of Croatia's Adriatic pearl, Dubrovnik, are said to date to Roman times too. But the first written mention was in 1272 in the Statutes of the Ragusan Republic - a small, independent state around Ragusa, as Dubrovnik was known. The statutes set strict rules for the production, storage and sale of Ston's salt.
A four-day-long festival dedicated to the ancient tradition of salt production will take place in Ston, 30 August 2018-2 September 2018. The purpose of this event, the 2nd edition of the Festival of Salt, is to remember and celebrate Ston's past and dedicate a celebration to the precious salt, re-enacting the past traditions and proposing various themed attractions: traditional products and handcrafts fair (every day), wine, honey and olive oil tasting and sale, workshops for children, traditional dance and music etc..
We recommend you create some memories, with a pinch of salt to help spice up your stay in Croatia! For more information visit the official website of the Tourist Board of Ston, attend on festival and tag your photos on Instagram. #festivalofsalt#elitetravel
Halubian Bell Bearers com from Halubje, western part of the Kastav region close to Rijeka. This unique folk costumes date back to prehistoric times and are one of the biggest attractions at the Rijeka Carnival, one of the largest carnivals in Europe. This year Rijeka Carnival is is set from January 17 until March 1.
If you wish to visit Rijeka Carnival 2017. do not hesitate to contact us.