Short history

In Croatia there's a long tradition of carnival. Nobody knows for sure but there are some historical documents created by the Romans hundreds & thousands years ago which claim that the origins of the carnival come from the Romans but I would not be pretty certain of that! I wouldn't be claiming the opposite either... I would rather go with the very possible claim that the carnival traditions were developing parallel in the different parts of the world & in some nations' cultures they are still strongly embedded in their every-year customs.

A tractor drives the puppet around the village before hanging

This year they called the puppet - Migro - cause of the many migrants from the Middle East passing through the woods around the village & breaking in the houses. The villagers of Žejane are mostly older people who believe what they hear on the TV news & are not opened to the outside world & they are a bit afraid of the upcoming Muslims. I think that the name Migro sounds a bit negative but I wouldn't be totally sure of it.

The Ceremony

Traditionally in the North-West of Croatia, where I live, the carnival starts on the 6th of January when the Catholics celebrate the Coming of the Holy Three Kings & for the Orthodox it's Christmas Eve. On that day in the village Žejane, which is situated on the mountain Ćićarija, the local bell-carriers go on the walkabout around the village just behind the tractor which drives the puppet & don't stop ringing with the bells.

Warming up!
The bell-carriers are always followed with the live music.

The younger generations of the bell-carriers go first & in this case they have the captain-supervisor.
Behind them, at the frontend, go the elder bell-carriers.

After the walkabout, all the bell-carriers, the youngsters & the elders, gather in a circle in the center of the village where the puppet is hanged & where it will be hanging until the end of the carnival - the Ash Wednesday. The ringing of the bells becomes the loudest at the end but finishes suddenly & than the puppet is hanged. The chairman of the local board tells few words to the gathered people & the official part of the ceremony ends up. Afterwards everybody go to dance in the warmed up tent with the live music probably till the late at night but I didn't stay that long to witness it. I was more interested in the ceremony.

The bell-carriers stop ringing...
...& the puppet is hanged.

Specificity Of Žejane

It is said that the people who live in Žejane have come from Romania probably hundreds of years ago. Now their religion is Catholic but I believe it was Orthodox when they came. All the other villages & towns around the Kvarner bay & Liburnia do not start the carnival at the same day when it starts in Žejane. All the other settlements celebrate the beginning of the carnival on the 17th of January when the Saint Anthony is celebrated. Except that the villagers there speak a very unique dialect which is said to be a mixture between the archaic Romanian & Croatian probably with the influences of Italian & Slovenian.

If you want to hear & to see how the ceremony goes, tako a look to this video:!/v/careassaktart/4eamlfl6


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