Venice? Rio de Janeiro? Nooo..
Come to Croatia and experience the authentic carnival emerged from old habits and beliefs.
Altough Croatia accepted Christianity in 10th century, no influence was able to destroy old Slavic tradition among the people, established in the old age, when Croats used to celebrate many Gods and were more connected with the forces of nature.
Old tradition was preserved among the people in the villages through the more then thousand years, and despite many foreign influences.
In January and February, people from the villages were bunishing evil spirits of winter and other negative influences on the following way:
All men in the village, put the horrible masks on faces and were ringing with the bells around the waists in order to scare evil spirits and negative energies away. They were walking as a group all around the village, visiting the other villages, walking and dancing around the fields and our beautiful green woods to destroy all negativity, while spreading around the ash – as a symbol of fertility.
This interesting old ritual is still kept alive, and “zvonchari” (men with bells) are still protecting the villages and towns by bunishing evil and inviting positive energy to come, and bless fertility and abundance of the lands and families…
An effigy, representing negative energy, is often burned in order to symbolize an opportunity for a healthy, new beginning. Evil-doers like the one known as Fasnik may undergo a mock trial that ends in his effigy receiving a sentence of burning, hanging, or drowning on Shrove Tuesday.
When there is Carnival in Croatia, towns who celebrate it proclaim “Republic of Carnival”, which has all funny laws human mind can imagine. People are free to enjoy themselves completely, no rules of society are present. They are free to drink, eat as much they can, and pretend under the masks they are somebody else. This celebration is established among the people so they can let out from themselves all stress and problems, while being marry, relaxed and…hm…a little bit irresponsible under the masks. So many flirting is also happening, because everybody pretends is somebody else…It is great, because nobody is taking anything seriously, everything is a big joke for 7 or 10 days.
And in the end what is a Carnival without krafne – traditional croatian version of doughnuts.