Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes


January 16, 2015

Discover Croatia: The Feast of St. Blaise, Dubrovnik

Once a week, I’m letting my sister Lisa loose on my blog and this week she’s talking about the fabulous festival of The Feast of St. Blaise in Croatia!  So without further ado..

To the uninitiated (including me) this is a Catholic feast (or festa in Croatian) that is undoubtedly one of the most authentic events you can view in Dalmatia.


I had the pleasure of a window (or three) from in my humble opinion the best place you can stay to watch the feast unfold before you in Dubrovnik, The Apartments Martecchini, which is a historic gem itself.

With wood beam ceilings and green shuttered windows (green is the traditional colour in Dalmatia for these things) opening onto the square you have a birds eye view of the proceedings without elbowing for a good position or missing a moment while being able to sit, relax and have ample room and perhaps have a little feast of your own while you do.

So what is the Feast of St Blaise (Sveti Vlaho in Croatian) all about. Well according to the childrens book I bought (as research I assure you) one night as the Venetians were about to attack the city St Blaise came and woke up the parish priest and alerted him to the impending danger and thus saved the city. And if you now walk Dubrovnik you will see many statues or carvings of the Saint holding the walled city of Dubrovnik in his hands.


This is in my opinion one of the most authentic events you can witness in Dalmatia. How so? well for a start it hasn’t been moved to summer to accommodate the tourist season, there aren’t people peddling tourist items just stuff for local families like candy floss and balloons, most shops shut and the streets once again fill with spoken Croatian (the tourists don’t run the Stradun today).


Well what exactly will you see? tradition, joy, Dubrovnik in all its glory. While many locals have been pushed from the old city to make way for tourism during the festa it is theirs once again. With authentic traditional costumes, locals from outside the walls carrying their banners, spontaneous local dancing and music and who can forget the wine fest at the same time. But without doubt I would come just to see the Dubrovacki Trombunjeri (who for me are up their with my favourite Evzones, Mostar divers, Csikos and any Polish military) to see them fire their many old guns and tiny cannon. Trust me you hear them before you see them.


But don’t forget this is a religious celebration with a mass held outside the church with political leaders in attendance. The relics from the Church make their way around town and are kissed and touched by a multitude of people. There is even a bingo game whereby while the man attempts to take the numbers down as he is pelted by kids and teenagers with oranges – supplied by the adults. There is definitely something for everyone and a lot going on to keep you busy all day.


The Feast of St Blaise has an opening ceremony on the 2nd of February where a procession along the Stradun goes to the St Blaise Church and is officially opened when two doves are released by the Bishop of Dubrovnik. The main part of the events take place the following day, the 3rd of February, when church banners are paraded into the city by surrounding towns and villagers in costume and the mass is held. Ending in the evening with the carrying out of the banners from the Pile Gate.


The Feast itself is free of charge. While in Dubrovnik I stayed at Apartments Martecchini in Apartment Baldo which faces the church and accommodates four people. I arrived in Dubrovnik by bus which still has a frequent service in the winter to the main bus station and caught the local bus which goes every 10 minutes to the Old Town Pile Gate and back.

You can follow more of Lisa’s adventures on twitterInstagram or Pinterest


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