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Old Slavic Magic on CROATIAN CARNIVAL

Updated on February 4, 2009

Altough Croatia accepted Christianity in 10th century (after 925, - yes, we are so old state), none 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. We are very stubborn people, with the same passion we kept our language, altough very often in the history Croatian language was forbidden in the higher schools or on many working places; even Vatican did not let us to serve Holy Communion on Croatian language for many centuries! We had to serve it on Latin language, situation changed in last century.(Croats are mostly RomanCatholics).

The part of our old tradition I want to share with all of you is beautiful magical ritual, from the many villages of Croatia (now still kept in the Istria peninsula and northern part of Adriatic Coast-Primorje).

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.

In the mentioned parts of Croatia, 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...

 

Carnivals in Croatia

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.

Burning the Prince of Carnival

On the end of carnival, there is also ritual of burning the doll in which people project all their negativity. This doll (we call it Prince of Carnival) represents all evil, all problems and negativity people used to have in previous period.

After putting it on fire, fire clears it all...energy is renewed, and people can have new beginning...

 

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    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      I wish you a lot of success with your assignment.

    • profile image

      Lois 7 years ago

      Thankyou for giving me permission to use this site as a reference. I do have croatian history background and I agree that it is a wonderful country! :)

      Have a great day.

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Yes it is fully OK with me Lois.

    • profile image

      Lois 7 years ago

      No problem! I'm working on it in class right now as we speak!

      I will be pasting one of the pictures in this article and give full credit to this URL for my powerpoint if that is ok with you?

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Thank you for saying thank you Lois.

    • profile image

      Lois 7 years ago

      Thankyou for writing this article. It has really helped me for the assignment and I couldn't have done it without your help. :)

      THANKYOU!

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Thank you for the comment jo...

    • profile image

      jo 7 years ago

      This was practice by all slavic people its called pust. the winter season or the winter season of death. I guess its similar to the germanic tradition of halloween. Sometimes they overlap in tradition like may day and beltanci day

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Good idea.There are many ways. I have somewhere book of one Croatian witch about many ways of protection.

      Small mirrors also work very well (when put on all windows - )... For others I also make amulets....

      What means X`s 3 ???

      A lots of love...

    • MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

      Shannon 8 years ago from New York

      I've done that before... Have you ever heard of "peeing" in a jar of old rusty nails and such, and sealing it, and burying it, for protection from others? (It works as if someone was to send negative energy your way, it will return to that person, protecting you, X's 3...?

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      I like to burn piece of paper, where I write all what I want to get rid of. Thanks for your comment, Shannon

    • MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

      Shannon 8 years ago from New York

      I actually do this with a poppit once in a while. It clears my thoughts and like you said, takes all negativity away from me, so as I proceed a happier person on the outside and in.

      Nice Hub tatjana!

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      I)ll send you mine immediately. It is mihaelat999@yahoo.com

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      Yes I am not surprised at all. I was studying about the old persian history and the link to earlier aryan civilization where there were lots of similarities. Btw can you send me your email address? 2 ads :-)

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Hi. CW, I am not surprised. A lot of historians say that Croats (Hrvati) have Indian-Iranian origin...Our old Gods do not differ from your Gods and Goddesses...Love & Light

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Thanks affiliater, now I can understand. Tanks for translation and for comment. Here on the Hubpages, majority of us become and stay friends and support each other...

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      Tatjana- Nice pictures & videos. This festival sounds similar to Ravana(evil) effigy being burned signifying the victory of good over evil in India. Those pictures were great. Two more ads clicked ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEWyyf0k4dA

    • affiliater profile image

      Shankar Pandiath 8 years ago from India

      I was trying to thank you for the welcome and comment that you had left on my hubpage and was hoping that we try and keep in touch..... my language is bad...just know a bit..

    • affiliater profile image

      Shankar Pandiath 8 years ago from India

      "I was very grateful to you"

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Hm, I do not speak all Slavic languages, but I suppose that "obrazek" is a mask... and the language is Cheskoslovakian,,,or Polish? but I am Croat. 

      Mozete li ponoviti sto ste rekli na engleskom? Bila bih vam jako zahvalna. Please can you repeat this on English?

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      Shankar Pandiath 8 years ago from India

      Hezký obrázek. Rád bych také pod?kovat za komentá?. Domníváte se pokusila udržet v kontaktu ....

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Hi, Quicksand, glad to see you here.

      Actually all masks do not represent evil: they are so scary to frighten the evil. Most often, masks represent the animals...

      There is only one doll/mask who represents evil and which is burnt on the end of carnival....Nowadays we call it Prince of carnival.

      Yes, feng shui really works on that way, is ancient tradition to bunish evil spirits with bells all over the world...

      Yes, you are right, Cossacks also had this ritual, Africans, India, I have seen also in buddism something similar....

      Thanks for your comment, see you!

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      Hi Tanya,

      It's amazing the way ancient man feared evil spirits, and it is also equally amazing to examine the way he devised methods of conquering them, or attempted to do so! Creating masks representing different forms of evil, parading with them and finally burning them all with the hope of destroying evil ...

      Using sound to banish them is still recommended by Feng Shui masters. When I was learning Feng Shui, I came across a chapter in one of my books where the master recommends that when one intends moving to a new location, the first thing to be done is to remove all the items of furniture, and walk in with a gong and strike it hard as you approach each corner!!! LOL!

      Anyway, I believe even the Cossacks had a similar system. Am I right?

      Thanks for another very interesting hub on a subject totally unexpected!

      Cheers!

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Yes, g-Ma - we want it perfect right and only when we achieve it we are content. Well, we like everything what is nice, we like to see and find the beauty and love in everything, we like to write and communicate...we like harmony.

      Thanks for stopping by, Love, hugs and peace....

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      HEY I aM LIBRA TOO...and I know what you say is so true..Balance balance and more balance...we want it perfect right??? G-Ma :O) Hugs & PEACE

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Thanks Jim, I am glad to hear there is so many similartiies everywhere around... These masks here in Croatia reminds me on African ones, and buddistic ones, masks in India....now you say in Switzerland is the same.... Great... It is so obvious that roots of whole humanity are the same...Old good retuals are still here, in order we never forgett that fact.

      A lots of nice regards...many thanks for stopping by. Nice regards to your wife, as well.

    • profile image

      jimmurdoch 8 years ago

      Hi Tatjana, This looks almost like Switzerland. Here they also wear big masks and carry big bells to ward off the fading winter. At this time of year also Fashing is quite popular where people wear costumes, bands play off key music and go to fancy dress parties. In Zurich in summer there is a special guilds parade, where they burn such a figure. So we are seemingly closer related than geography may suggest.

      Great hub.

      Jim

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Madison,

      I will be glad to see you here...my country is really beautiful, you will llove it.

      A lot of people here speaks English, especially young ones: we are wise enough to understand that majority of world communicate on English, and we have long tradition in tourism...

      American and British movies and songs are poular all over the world....

      I was living in London for 9 months, and was working for United Nation`s Protection Forces for almost three years, so I just did not want to forget my English.

      Thanks for the compliments!

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
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      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Well, Goldentoad, is never late to start...

      Thanks VioletSun for your nice comment. Good intention and group energy always works...for the best.

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image
      Author

      Tatjana-Mihaela 8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Dear Anja, thanks for your comment, I think that burning the evil ritual is similar everywhere...Altough some historic research said that Croats ancestors came from India, or were in India long enoug to have some same customs...

      Mr. Nice, you and me are Libras - this sign is the most talented for flirting, we can do it even without carnivals, he, he...it is pitty not to use our natural gift.

    • TKIMWRSVC profile image

      TKIMWRSVC 8 years ago from United States

      pretty cool awesome stuff

    • Madison Parker profile image

      Madison Parker 8 years ago from California

      Tatjana,

      I'm giving you warning; my husband and I are going to show up on your doorstep someday soon!  Your country sounds so wonderful and beautiful and my husband, Jeffery, has been wanting to go there for several years.

      Last year, we did go to Prague and I fell in love with Eastern Europe.  We both have a language problem; speaking any Slavic language is so difficult and I learn languages easily, but not yours!!!  I admire that you write in English when it is not your own language; you are amazing!

      I do hope that we get to your corner of the world and I think you should be their ambassador!

      Lovely hub!!!

      Madison

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 8 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      I find these traditons colorful to watch. I love the Native American rituals here in the USA; in my mind, even if the rituals may not really fend off evil spirits, just the combined energy and intention of everyone is bound to do some good. much like when a group gathers to meditate for world peace.

      Thumbs up!

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      Wish we partied like that over here.

    • Mr Nice profile image

      Mr Nice 8 years ago from North America

      Dear Tatjana,

      Wonderful another great hub, it looks like Halloween festival we have here every year in October. Now I know why you are so flirty you learned all the flirting from this carnival.....haha

      Love, Peace, Light, Money, Honey & happy ever after..........

    • anjalichugh profile image

      anjalichugh 8 years ago from New York

      It was good to know about Croatian culture. Apart from other similarities, there is one thing which is prevalent in India too, which happens to be the burning of efigy portraying the victory of good over evil. Thx for sharing.