If you have in plans to take holiday in March and even a bit feel those Balkan rhythms running in your veins, you might want to head for Rijeka, Croatia on 2nd of March, the last Sunday of the carnival.Croatians love dancing, fun, singing and wine. The carnival climaxes with a procession led by a truck carrying a giant vat with infernal fire blaze underneath while devils armed with pitch-forks run around it. Rakia flows like water – you need to have strong head or Balkan soul to keep up with all the toasts.
The atmosphere is laid back because the main carnival motto is “be whoever you want to be”. Revelers dress as they please, but most are inspired by folklore, the Middle Ages and ancient Slavic mythology. Not without a reason, the British Sunday Times announced the Rijeka carnival one of the most exotic events in the world.
Regular elements of the festival include the zvonari (bellmen), cloaked in sheepskin furs and masks representing animal heads (with horns and protruding tongues) and wearing a ribbons with bells around the waist. That’s why they are called zvonari – bellmen. Loud bell ringing and wailing is meant to chase away the spirits of winter.