Gorjani – The Annual Spring Procession of the Queen

Gorjani – The Annual Spring Procession of the Queen
Croatia is a country with the most protected cultural phenomena in Europe, with only China, Japan and Korea holding longer lists. The Annual Procession of the Queen from Gorjani, an east Slavonian village near Đakovo, is also on the UNESCO list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.

This tradition, which has been held in Gorjani on the feast of Pentecost, dates back to the beginning of the last century. The first written traces of this tradition have existed ever since 1898. A group of young peasant women, dressed in picturesque traditional costumes with richly decorated high hats on their heads and swords in their hands, gather round to attend the holy mass after which they dance in a circle, accompanied by a band of tambura (traditional string instrument resembling the lute) players. They then start their procession from the church`s back yard through the village and visit the locals who expressed their wishes for their visit. The queens spread good will, laughter and songs throughout the village. They are usually accompanied by a bag pipe player and two male beggars.

This tradition originated from a legend from the times of the Turkish conquests, when the Turks burst into Gorjani and captured all the men. Their women then put on colourful clothes and male hats decorated with fake flowers on their heads, and armed with sickles and scythes set off towards the Turkish camp. The terrified Turks thought that they were seeing ghosts and ran off. The women of Gorjani thus freed their husbands, fathers and brothers. Ever since then they have been dressing up the same way on the feast of Pentecost and have kept the memory of this event alive in its authentic form. The only change is that instead of sickles and scythes, they now carry swords.

To all the visitors who decide to get acquainted with the rich tradition and beauty of the national costumes on 12 June, the hosts will also offer a one day pheasant hunt as well as a ride in a horse carriage, while everything will be topped up by the rich offer of Slavonian cuisine.

The Tourist Board of the Osijek-Baranja County

The Tourist Board of Đakovo

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