Carnival of Cetina Region
Carnival of Cetina Region
15:30, Trg kralja Tomislava (Sinjska Pijaca)
6th Carnival of Cetina Region
For a long time, Sinj and the Cetina region have been drawing attention with their unique and interesting events, but the carnival festival is surely a class of its own. This year, on February 15th, it will be its sixth jubilee organized by the city of Sinj, Sinj Tourist Board.
Numerous carnival groups have the opportunity to present themselves to the general public – the result is a lively, cheerful and noisy procession which, under the multitude of colors, hides the long tradition maintained by carefully and strictly established rules. The masked carnival groups are the best promoters of the carnival customs in our region and after the Three Kings’ Day they head towards the villages and hamlets. Their value is affirmed by the fact that they are included on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list of the Republic of Croatia.
In the villages of Gljev, Han, Obrovac Sinjski Bajagić and Gala, carnival pageants are a unique and original way of depicting ancient customs interwoven with the sounds of the carnival pageant bells and other accompanying rituals. In the municipality of Otok each hamlet has its own masked group (Jelašce, Priblaće, Živinice, Gala, Ruda, Udovičići, and on occasion the groups of Glavičica-Priblaće, Strana with the groups from Ovrlja and Korita), whereas in the municipality of Trilj the carnival groups go to the villages of Grab, Jabuka, Košute, Vedrine, Vrpolje, Čačvina and Velić. The arrangement of the carnival procession is based on traditional rules, not subject to any changes and only men take part in it.
At the head of the pageant is a white carnival pageant group with the barjo and a carnival wedding procession followed by the komedija and a black carnival pageant group. The wedding procession, symbolic of the end of winter and the arrival of spring, used to be led by the first did (an old man), and nowadays it is led by the barjo (standard-bearer). A pregnant, mannish bride accompanied by the diver (bridesman) searches for the bridegroom which is the main task of the pageant itself. There are also jenge (married women) and the jengije (maidens) as well as other guests – wedding characters wearing formal clothes (folk costumes). The Turk commands the carnival pageant groups making sure that the white and the black ones are never in the same place at the same time. The characters of the Turk and the bula (Turkish for aunt) are associated with the long period of the Ottoman rule in this area. Without mincing their words, the carnival pageant group Komedije criticizes the current social and political issues while following the carnival wedding procession. The black wedding procession is led by the baba and the did (an old woman and an old man) who are associated with the fertility cult. By simulating an intercourse, they are invoking a better and more plentiful annual crop, yet another indispensable ritual element. There are also žalovice, professional widow-mourners who wail comic and funny slogans.
The most interesting and the most impressive part of the procession are didi wearing sheep fleeces, up to 1.5 meters in height, on their heads and bells around their waists. Didi are dressed in old shabby clothes with colorful fringes sewn on them. They symbolize the ritual age-long battle of good spirits with winter, chasing it away with noise and with jumping. With the loud ringing of the bells they remove the curses from the livestock, which, along with fertility and arrival of the spring, attests to the main concerns of our ancestors.