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Uploaded 16 Jul 2008 — 4 favorites
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© Jadranka Lacković
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Photo Info
UploadedJuly 16, 2008
TakenFebruary 11, 2007
ModelCanon EOS 350D DIGITAL
Exposure1/400 sec at f/9
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length80 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

Zvončari (the bellmen) is the characteristic folk custom maintained in the region around Rijeka, Croatia.

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 time 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 Zvončar 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 (Dondolaši) wear special stylized masks representing a fantastic animal heads, while Zvončari of Zejane and Brguj wear "flower hats".

A legend tells that Zvončari scared away invading Tatars or Turks. According to the legend the shepherds put masks on their heads, belted on bells, and produced a deafening noise that scared the enemy away. From that time on, a mace became part of the standard equipment of Zvončari.

With their impressive appearance, Zvončari have become something of a tourist attraction, participating regularly in the international Rijeka Carnival. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zvon%C4%8Dari)

see also>>> http://www.jpgmag.com/photos/853620

3 responses

  • Michelle Tims Orth

    Michelle Tims Orth said (10 Mar 2010):

    Interesting story and great picture but what country does this happen in?

  • Jadranka Lacković

    Jadranka Lacković said (10 Mar 2010):

    I cant believe that I didnt mentioned that...anyway Zvončari (the bellmen) is the characteristic folk custom maintained in the region around Rijeka, Croatia.

  • Maja Muskic

    Maja Muskic said (2 Jun 2010):

    Ovako se od malih nogu njeguje i čuva tradicija! Pozdrav

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