UNESCO Croatian intangible cultural heritage
Spring Procession of Ljelje/Kraljice (Queens) from Gorjani
Kraljice (queens) from village Gorjani are girls who go through their village in a procession and perform a ritual consisting of special songs and dance with sabres in spring, on Whitsunday. They are divided into kraljice (queens) and kraljevi (kings); about ten kings wear sabres and male hats decorated with flowers and half as much queens wear white garlands on their heads like brides.
From a wide repertoire of kraljica lyrics they choose songs corresponding to the families they are visiting; most often they sing to a girl, boy or a young bride. Then kraljevi perform a dance with sabres, and kraljice comment on the dance figures through song. This is followed by a folk dance accompanied by musicians that can be joined in by the household members.
After they are treated to food and drinks, the procession goes to another house. On the second day of Whitsuntide they visit a neighbouring village or a close by town. Finally there is a common feast and entertainment at one of the participant's homes.
Ministry of Culture