Kastav Carnival 2014

time: 17.01.2014. - 22.02.2014.
place: Kastav
The period between Saint Anthony's Day (17th January) and Ash Wednesday  (22nd February) is carnival time. In the entire Kastav region as well as in the entire Kvarner region the tradition of the zvončari has been kept.

The roots of this tradition date back to pre-Christian times when zvončari (the bellmen) went around villages and chased away winter and evil spirits with the noise of their bells and with their scary masks.

The carnival starts on 17th January, Saint Anthony's Day. By blowing the Antonjski horn the carnival frenzy (pusne nemotarije) is announced. Members of all the masked troops from the Kastav region are gathered at the central town square where they introduce their masks and Pust, an effigy made of straw that will be tried and burnt on Ash Wednesday. Every year, a carnival mayor is chosen from the maskers and he presides over the town during carnival time.

The town of Kastav has a Carnival Statute which orders that on the first day of carnival time the Zlatna broskva (golden kale) award is presented to the best masked person of the past year. During the carnival, maškarani tanci, masked dances are held; balinjerada, a competition to create the most original means of transport is run and the zvončari (the bellmen) are welcomed. On Ash Wednesday, the last day of carnival, the Pust, as a traditional culprit for all the last year’s troubles is burnt. The explanation of the verdict is called pusna napoved (the carnival chronicle).

The town of Kastav and the whole Kastav region are plain historical, geographical, architectural and tourist facts. Situated, as one poet said “ponad mora, kano soko” (“above the sea, like a hawk”), so similar and yet so different from other towns in this region, with its soul in a nest made of stone, it is large enough for everyone willing to experience it in its wholeness. Kastav gives something to everyone and at the same time receives something in return. One who has listened once to the echo of their footsteps on the ancient cobblestone that many have walked before returns to it over and over again. Even in the days when streets are teeming with activity “aš se va Grade vaveki neš' dogaja” (“because in Kastav, there is something always going on”), Kastav invites a silent dialogue between the past and the present. It is when the closeness of a person and a city develops into something greater and more meaningful.

(Source: Castav Tourist Board)

(D.H., 02.01.2014)