Two more fun things to do in the offseason, also known as the Croatian winter itinerary. These are Masquerade and Skraping, bet you have never heard of it 🙂 With traditions, cultural as well as religious, plus fitness trends, no two months here are exactly the same.
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Its March – and – welcome to the Amerikanka from Croatia!
The first activity for winter itinerary is MASQUERADE / CROATIAN CARNIVAL #CROATIANKARNEVAL – a time to let loose!
Here in the south of Europe, we have a longlasting winter tradition – Masquerade Ball – Maskenball – or, Maškarade! All the same thing with a different name. It was originally a religious activity, but it has been secular for quite some time.
Carnival falls somewhere in between New Year’s day and the first day of Spring, most commonly around Valentine’s Day.
The best place to see Croatian Carnival is in Rijeka because it is very well organized. Besides, where else can you see people dressed up like this! Besides the bullheads, they wear bells fastened to their backsides, and really make a lot of noise when banging them together with their buddies (#onlyincroatia #bellringers #karneval):
Halloween vs. Masquerade (CroatianKarneval) – WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
In the USA it’s all about Halloween – with lots of scary stuff. In other words, Freddy Krueger, Scream-style and so on. Here it is just plain ridiculous. During the Bill Clinton / Monica Lewinsky scandal, there were groups depicting the whole affair. Karneval is often celebrated in groups, you choose a theme and go for it. Ladybugs, young mothers with plastic doll babies, chickens.. the sky is the limit…
By the way, for those of you who are worried about the weather in Croatia, it is a bit colder, but not bad.
We had snow last week – and it does happen – but at least in Dalmatia, it is quite rare.
I have only seen snow twice – in 2012 and in 2018 (last week) – before that, it fell 50 years ago, so I have been told 😀
SO HOW DOES THIS WORK
In most towns, it lasts at least two weekends before Povorka / Fat Tuesday. In some communities, kids dress up and go house to house, let’s say trick or treating, usually receiving coins, apples, goodies and other goodies. My daughter is saving spending money for a school excursion and was able to collect a nice little bundle! Adults usually have a Saturday night Maskenball at the local cultural center at least two Saturday nights before it’s all over. In Rijeka, it lasts much longer – about six weeks!
Particularly smaller communities get busy right after New Year and form groups for the masquerade. Many creative types have a heyday with costume ideas, sewing and adapting old garments into fanciful costumes.
We took the easy way out and rented some cool costumes from a Frenchwoman who lives nearby. Croatia has many expats from all over the world. Our “French connection,” Fabienne, provided us with two costumes for the Masquerade timeframe. The price ranges from 50-80 kunas per costume (usually under 10€ or about $12-15).
This year’s costumes – vs. – 4 years ago – it’s all good 😀
WHAT HAPPENS – HOW DO I PARTICIPATE
Well, you just put on a funny hat – nose extension and keep it cheap. I know one person who cut out a paper crown and put it on his head with beads. If you really want to be mysterious, wear a different pair of shoes, too! Supplies can be found at practically any drugstore at this time of year – at least a small Maskerade section. Join the activities, and bring a camera! These activities are usually the two Saturdays before Povorka (Fat Tuesday) and most towns host a Children’s Masquerade party on the Sunday afternoon before Povorka.
POVORKA AKA FAT TUESDAY
If you live in a larger city there is usually some kind of an outdoor celebration on Fat Tuesday, Povorka, which is the last day of masquerade.
As far as I know, no ladies take off their tops – this isn’t New Orleans! The following day, which you may remember from childhood, is called Ash Wednesday. Basically, after Masquerade, many people are taking part in intermittent fasting until Easter time.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Here is the scenario.
Usually, there is a big parade, complete with the brass band (which is also dressed up!) Everyone joins the parade, so join in, and follow the procession to the main square. There is usually a vehicle carrying “the accused” and a mock trial is held. Someone (a cloth dummy, dressed up to look like some kind of an idiot) is guilty. His heinous crimes are read publicly amidst cheers and hooting. All agree that he is guilty of whatever is ailing the community and is sentenced to death by burning. (These villagers don’t kid around!) The name of the condemned can be Jure (yu-ray or George), Tomas (to-mahs, or Thomas) and so on, depending on which part of Croatia you happen to be in.
LENT – also known as “Post” in Croatian:
In Lent, (Croatian “post”) people generally give up something, either excess food, cigarettes, and coffee, or something else, like desserts. The alternative philosophy is to not give up anything because more harm comes from what my mouth produces than what I put into it. (Interesting.) I personally don’t give up anything, but try to eat a little less, which is something I basically try to do all year round 😀
My own personal Lent activity is to listen more closely to what my kids have to say 🙂
A LIVE TRADITIONAL MASQUERADE BASH – In the video below, the band is playing the traditional Masquerade Song…(which says, basically, you look better with your mask on, than off… :D) At most masquerade parties, people form a congo line.. and this is no exception to the rule.
Here is a typical live NIGHTTIME masquerade bash – with Croatian popular music:
Details regarding the above video:
DJs – Shaka Zulu –
Music (excellent club music) – Colonia – and –
Light and sound provided by Kingsley d.o.o. – click here for more details on organizing events of any size.
MY ADVICE – GO TO RIJEKA – the place to celebrate MASQUERADE CROATIAN KARNEVAL in style!
The Big Daddy of all Masquerades is in RIJEKA, Croatia. People all over Croatia get their acts together and take them on the road in order to participate in RIJEKA! The festivities are covered on TV with judging and lots of cheers from standers-by. It is really a humongous outdoor party! Try not to miss it next year!
Click here for a glimpse! Rijeka Karneval
If you are looking for a place to stay, try looking for a hostel in the downtown area. There are tons of good options. I personally love the BOTEL because it’s conveniently located downtown within walking distance of the bus station, and it’s a bed-and-breakfast on a boat.
Related Post: The Botel Rijeka
**** …Now for the Blogging part… ******
BLOGGING has become popular, and why not be self-published if you have a story to tell?
The thing is, there is a lot to learn. I am still learning it all myself.
A QUALITY BLOGGING COURSE (IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD EBA):
At this time of year, many blogging seminars become available to the public. They are usually not cheap but do promise to demystify the world of blogging. Probably the most famous is EBA – Elite Blogging Academy – The majority of bloggers agree on many things – they do their best to write relevant, quality content (“content is king!”) and publicize their posts on Social media, such as Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and more. Anyway, there are a lot of technical things to learn: you will need hosting, need to learn SEO (search engine optimization – in other words, which Google searches are currently popular) and prepare attractive graphics. So these seminars – if treated like a university course – have their rightful place in the world of blogging.
My point? Living in Croatia, I have learned a lot about frugality, so EBA at $897 is not going to happen for me, at least not this year. I found an alternative – for $97 – known as Money Saving Mom, Crystal Paine. She too is successful enough to make a living, and support her family of 5, solely from her blog, so she knows her stuff – with 12 years experience. It is a 4-week course, so I decided to sign up. I figure I will learn a lot – it’s held every Monday night starting March 12. If you decide you want to try blogging and need some guidance on getting started, I would recommend the course. Not only is she a sincere person, the price is the best I have seen anywhere.
Her handle is Your Blogging Mentor. By clicking below, I will also get a referral at no cost to you so we can both win. And yes, I also signed up for her course. You can access it here: $97. blogging course.
2. LAST BUT NOT LEAST.. a brand new sport in Croatia – marathoning in a super-bumpy area, known as SKRAPING – and it’s becoming more popular every year!
SKRAPING – Look! It’s in Croatian, but the pictures tell the story 🙂 Filmed in 2016
Another excursion on the Croatian Winter Itinerary series and that is Skraping (pronounced “scrapping” in English).
WHERE: PAŠMAN ISLAND – NEAR ZADAR, CROATIA (NEAREST PORT: BIOGRAD NA MORU)
WHEN: USUALLY FIRST SATURDAY IN MARCH
WHY: RECREATION – SPORT – ENTERTAINMENT – FESTIVITIES -FUN!
HOW: Train and join! Registration closes a few weeks before the actual event.
FOR MORE INFO: CLICK HERE
As shown in the link above, 2018 is expecting over 600 participants from 11 countries. A relatively new event, it’s held annually on the island of Pašman (PAAsh-Man) (posh, man), just a hop, skip and a jump from Zadar or Biograd (you have to take a ferry to go there). Pasman is a beautiful island, lots of natural beauty.its popularity has mushroomed from year to year since its inception in 2006!
This year, it is held on 3 March 2018 The sport of Skraping consists of marathoning (shorter lengths are available) on a very rocky path. Not exactly jumping from rock to rock, but yes, it is rugged! OK it is a bit of an extreme sport but you go at your own pace, and see how agile you are! After that, there is entertainment – food and live music, games of chance, drawings for the best domestic products and so on. You can have a good time till way late at night until early in the morning if you would like to!
************************MORE THINGS TO KNOW!***************************
MARCH IS HERE – A MONTH FAMOUS FOR longer days, with Strong SUN and COOL Breezes from the north, known as BURA. It is also the month to begin planting a few garden crops or at least preparing the ground for planting by April.
Many local people are kind of broke right now, so if you try to make a deal for springtime accommodations, they will probably be willing to give you a great deal.
Farm fresh vegetables and flowers in the marketplace are great to buy – especially Blitva – swiss chard – mangold – full of iron and good for so many reasons – especially when cooked with 1-2 potatoes in salted water, with domestic olive oil and a clove of garlic mmmm…
Here is the recipe: BLITVA
Traditional Catholics don’t usually marry until after Easter, it is considered in bad taste, however, those who are of other faiths or agnostics can and do marry in civil ceremonies at this time.
If you are thinking of visiting now, here is a link to the weather in Biograd na Moru, Croatia (a central Dalmatian location) with temperatures as F. / Fahrenheit (here we use Celsius): so adjust the location and degree preferences as you see fit.
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Sandi Bland says
Thank You for blogging. We arrived February 8 and are visiting until May 5.
Yes, trying to figure out what to do with limited transportation is how I found you.
Our friend arrives April 10 th for 2 weeks and ferries and flights seem to be limited.
I enjoyed your blog. Nice to meet you.
Anastasia Kingsley says
Hello, and nice to meet you too! Air transportation is constant in Split and Zagreb, the carrier I use most often, Ryan Air, resumes its flight schedule in Rijeka, Pula, Zadar and (new city for them) Osijek during the last week of March. In fact, at this moment there is a huge flight sale (over 500,000 seats) for travel dates from March 7 till the end of April! Ordinarily I wouldn’t know this, but I happened to hear about the sale, and noticed a round-trip flight Zadar to Berlin and back again would come to less than 30 euros!! (15€ each way.) There are many other destinations, so check it out at ryanair.com. For transportation within Croatia, I highly recommend taking the bus. Here, the bus is amazingly modern, with wifi, sometimes with a movie, comfortable seats, efficent and prompt. If you are a student or over 55 you may be able to negotiate a discount of 35-50%. The bus takes you directly to the middle of the downtown hub. Routes, which may include the superhighway (A1 – the Croatian autobahn) include scenery and adequate rest stops. Autobusni Kolodvor is the name of the Autobus system, and here is the main number (in Zagreb): 072-500-400. They will probably understand if you speak English slowly and as concretely as possible. Good luck and hope you enjoy your stay!