Carnival

When St. Anthony's horn blows in January, entire Rijeka surrounding wakes up for the month-long carnival. Tradition old more than six centuries becomes alive again, together with all good customs from Liburnia, Kastav, Grobnik, Crikvenica. That is why this time is called the fifth season.

Antonjski rogOn Saint Anthony’s Day, January 17th, blowing into the Anthony’s horn means the saturnalian ceremonies have begun. They were carried out in order to protect people from evil spirits and demonic power. It is the invocation of fertility, purification from sin and the victory of good. People fought in this manner against the winter, the worst of the season, when nature is dead, and household is living from what was collected during the year. Bells and horns are mandatory features in carnival procession. They are remains of the pagan customs of ancient Slavs who lived in these areas. The memory of them is still alive, because there are places that are still called by the Old Slavic gods. Thus, for example, a fishing port near Opatija, Volosko is named after the god Veles or Volos, who was the god of farmers, shepherds, forests and meadows. In some parts of this region Carnival starts earlier. Thus, in the village of Žejane Carnival begins at Epiphany and in the neighbouring Mune day later.

Riječki karnevalAn indispensable part of the Carnival festivities in Kvarner are bell ringers. It is a great honour to be bell ringer. It requires strength and durability. Bell ringers’ groups are dressed in sailor's robe, in white pants and a blue and white striped shirt, which is worn over the roan, with bells and scary animal mask. Kastav bell ringers instead of animal masks wear krabujosnice, old hats decorated with flowers out of crepe paper. Bell ringers go through all the villages in their area, and all gather together on International Rijeka carnival which becomes bigger every year. Grobnički dondolaši have probably the most frightening mask. The more mountainous region was also shepherd’s area and they usually used the bells (dondole). Legend has it that the villagers rushed to help the knights during the battle with the Turks. They wore scary masks and deafening bells, thus pushing fear into conquerors.

With the carnival is always present the carnival food. It is always heavier winter foods, rich in meat. Mandatory menu includes dry sausages, dry zarebrnik, bacon, cheese, and zapešt Ocvirk. Zarebrnik is one of the best pork meat, dried and smoked. Zapešt is spread of dried bacon and finely chopped garlic. Ocvirk is Liburnian name for greaves. Frequent combinations of dried meat and wine are present, so be prepared to Matulji zarebrnik in wine, sausages with wine and braised kapuz. Especially popular is potatoes with bacon.

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