Thursday, June 27, 2013

Zvončari of Rijeka

The Rijeka Carnival is held each year before Lent (the observance in the liturgical year of many Christian denominations, that lasts for a period of approximately six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday) in Rijeka, Croatia, it's the biggest carnival in Croatia. In 2008 it celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The Zvončari (the bellmen) is the characteristic folk custom maintained in the region around Rijeka, Croatia. It was added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.
The custom dates to pagan antiquity, and remains typical for this region. The primary task of Zvončari is to scare away evil spirits of winter and to stir up new spring-time cycle. During the Rijeka Carnival Zvončari march from village to village throughout the region, following the same centuries-old route, making an extraordinary amount of noise, fueled in part by the wine provided by the locals en route. 
The standard costume includes white trousers, striped shirt, and a sheepskin throw. In their hands they hold a "balta" or "bačuka"  a stylized mace, and around the waist one or more big brass bells. The costume varies from village to village , for example Zvončari of Halubje and Grobnik wear special stylized masks representing fantastic animal heads (as seen on the small squares right and left of the postcard), while Zvončari of Žejane and Brgud wear "flower hats" (as seen in the square of the middle). 

Hvala Antonella!

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