Carnival in Dalmatia
The carnival or masquerade period, which is celebrated in the weeks before Lent, is certainly one of the most cheerful times of the year. During this period, masquerades take over the keys to cities and towns throughout Dalmatia, and the streets are lavished with carnivals parades, colors and costumed dances.
Carnival programs in cities accros Dalmatia:
There is almost no place in Dalmatia where masquerades do not rule! Masked parades march through the streets of Split, Kaštela, Sinj, Trilj, Trogir… while the carnival madness takes hold of everyone, from children, young people to older citizens.
In the heart of the Cetina region, carnival processions are not just a tradition, but a true cultural heritage that, like an imaginative play, comes to life every year. This amazing custom has deep-rooted symbolism – these guardians of local heritage play a key role in banishing the spirits of winter and welcoming the brighter, warmer season – spring, the awakening of new life and nature. Masquerade parades are a combination of age-old traditions, dance, music and imaginative masks, providing an unforgettable experience for all participants and observers.
One of the most impressive groups in this folklore spectacle are “Didi from Kamešnica”. The invasion of noisy, colorful, defiant rams begins the day of the carnival parade in Gljevo, a village in Dalmatian Zagora. The procession of “Didi from Kamešnica” is arranged according to strict rules based on tradition. On their heads they wear sheepskin up to 1.5 m high, and bells around their waists.They are dressed in old clothes with multicolored fringes sewn on. From Mount Kamešnica, as a lighthouse of past times, they bring light to the dark winter days. Their colorful, playful masks become a symbol of the struggle between winter and spring. For a unique atmosphere, be sure to visit the villages of Gljev, Han, Bajagić and Gala, where slaughter processions last until Lent, February 10.
Kaštela are especially vibrant during the masquerade period! This town with seven settlements has been traditionally organizing several carnival processions for years, both for adults and children, so its residents have the opportunity to disguise themselves several times.
The masquerades from Kaštela also use this opportunity to reflect on the past year, so as the highlight of the Krnjeval procession, the burning of “Krnje”, a carnival doll that often represents a real person, and which, according to the locals, is “to blame” for all the problems of the past year .