Rijeka Carnival Croatia
Rijeka Carnaval in Croatia occurs on St. Anthony the Great Day until Ash Wednesday. The main parade is held in the final few days.
This area’s shrove-tide tradition dates back to prehistoric times. Through the inclusion of the local population, Shrove-tide has become interpreted as a Carnival and has become a traditional way of having fun, relaxing and reacting to life.
Shrove-tide customs in this area have origins which date back to ancient times, when, according to popular legend, the so called “Ugly masks”, by their rumpus joy, chased away evil forces, evoking the spring and celebrating the birth of new life. The bellringer we can see today is identical to the one who, some centuries ago, defended his land from the Ottoman invasion.
A hundred years ago, Rijeka lived its carnival life more intensely than any other city in this part of Europe. Carnival parades and carnival balls were organized in which the Austrian and Hungarian aristocracy, Russian princesses, German barons, countesses and counts from all over Europe took part. Shows such as, for example, a very suggestive "Flowers holiday" were organized in the theatre, where the stage and orchestra would become a huge dancing hall.
Today we find ourselves in the situation not only of preserving tradition, but of creating it by ourselves too. We create it through new adventures, parties, masks and new periods. We do this in an organized and imaginative way, adjusted to contemporary conditions.When, in 1982, three masked groups (the "Lako cemo" carnival group, the "Pehinarski festari" carnival group and the "Halubje Bellringers" carnival group) passed through the Korzo pedestrian street organised by the Rijeka Tourist Board (Municipality of Rijeka Tourist Association), nobody foresaw the range this would take over the years, which has already become traditional International Rijeka Carnival. In 1990, the masked parade on Korzo Street was followed by 80,000 people, and in 1994 it was a real masquerade spectacle with 100,000 observers and around 4,000 domestic and foreign masks which was the cause of Rijeka accepting full membership of the Federation of European Carnival Cities –FECC in 1995. In carnival parades of the Rijeka Carnival in 2001 72 children’s carnival groups took part with 4,200 participants on the Children's Carnival Parade and in the International Carnival Parade 144 carnival adult groups also participated with 10,000 participants from 12 world countries which were observed by 110,000 observers. With that the Rijeka Carnival affirmed itself as one of the largest in Europe.