One of the most famous cultural manifestations of continental Croatia - Picokijada - which is held every year in June in Podravina town of Đurđevac, has found its base in an incredible story that is almost five centuries old.
The legend says that in ancient times the Turkish army led by Ulama-beg was harassing Slavonian plains, plundering towns and villages. They also came to Podravina, but they were stopped in Đurđevac. Domestic residents bravely defended themselves. Ulama-beg decided to wait until the people were left out of food, so he thought, with the ease to beat the exhausted people of Đurđevac. Indeed, the people were left without food and all that was still in their hands was just one young rooster, or picok. An elderly woman proposed to the soldiers that they would just shoot that rooster from the cannon to the Ottoman army to leave Turks feeling that they did not miss food. They succeeded. Ulama-beg, convinced that Đurđevac could still endure siege for a long time, turned his army and left Podravina. With this, legend says, he exclaimed:
”And you there, feathered heroes, that fight battles with roosters, shall always carry the name roosters! Your children shall call you roosters, and your grandchildren will stay roosters!“
His curse will several centuries later become the real happiness of the Podravina region. Since 1968, people of Đurđevac are proud to organize Picokijada, a cultural, historical, folklore, ethnographic, gastronomic, sports and entertainment event of this region, and one of the best and most recognizable tourist products of continental Croatia. Every year, Picokijada is visited by more than 30,000 visitors from Croatia and abroad, and since 2007 it owns the status of the immaterial cultural heritage of the Republic of Croatia. In addition, the European Commission awarded Đurđevac the status of a European destination of excellence for the preservation and fostering of immaterial cultural heritage.