Carnival – time when special laws apply

After the feast of Three Kings' Day until the beginning of the Lent, a festive period begins in Croatia, which, depending on the region of the country, is differently called "poklade", "fašnik", "mesopust", "karneval". The period is the one in which people give vent, before fasting and cleansing in the days of the Lent. This tradition has been around for centuries and is characterized by costumed dances and parades.

The North Adriatic is particularly popular with masks, among which the Zvončar is worth mentioning. With animal-like masks, clothed in sheep's skin and bells around their waists, the Zvončars dominate Kastav area at the time of the Carnival. However, at the time of the masquerade, they also visit and dance in the surrounding towns.

They are held every Saturday in almost every part of the Adriatic, from Šmrika, across Crikvenica and Novi Vinodolski to Senj. While Saturday is reserved for adults, fun under the masks for the youngest is organized on Sundays, and the end of the carnival period in this area is a masked parade of the Rijeka Carnival. Last Sunday before Ash Wednesday, it runs through the centre of Rijeka and brings together thousands of masks.

At the same time, tens of thousands of guests arrive to Samobor. The Samobor fašnik has been here for weeks, and the keys to the town are in the hands of Prince Fašnik, Princess Sraka, Sudec and Fiškal. The whole city and its visitors entertain themselves under masks, enjoy creative workshops and concerts, and send their message to politics with their allegorical chants. However, their time will end on a Mardi Gras with the condemnation of Prince Fašnik and the burning of his doll.

And while there are "maškare" are on the Adriatic, in the northern part of the country "fašnik", Baranja taken over by the "buše". The people in the country are proud of beautiful, but also ugly "buše". Beautiful "buše" are young men and women in folk costumes and often dressed in the costume of the opposite sex. On the other hand, an ugly buša has a mask on the head and face, and carries a stick with a bell. Their visit also ends on a Mardi Gras.

On that day, masked children across Croatia with their baskets knock at the door of the entire neighbourhood searching with a song for sweets they will enjoy before the Ash Wednesday sets the beginning of the Lent.

While the real carnival happens in the winter, cities along the Adriatic coast, from Rabac to Cavtat, can boast with summer carnivals. One of the most attractive summer carnivals is the one in Senj. It is held since 1967 at the beginning of August and every year has attracted the attention of several thousand guests. It lasts three days, and its highlight is a masked parade on Saturday.