Traditional festivals in Slavonia – Unmissable events

7and from April 2022 – There are a lot of festivities you can visit in Slavonia – from beer and food festivals that have become very popular in recent years, to modernized cultural events that teach us something new. However, traditional festivities in Slavonia, which have been taking place for more than half a century, are still an irreplaceable staple of this region.

Looking at the list of festivities in Croatia, a tourist or even a Croatian citizen is shocked at the variety and content that Croatia organizes for its visitors every year. Urban, cultural and food festivals are at the forefront of most tours and offers, especially as summer approaches and since Croatia has become a very popular destination among tourists, there has also been more interest to the tradition and cultural heritage of the region they are visiting. For example, Dubrovnik, which is a jewel of the Adriatic coast, not only attracts visitors with its gourmet offers or beautiful historical sites like Tvrđava, but also the Dubrovnik Summer Festival (Dubrovačke ljetne igre) which brings together visitors of the tradition and the way the natives of Dubrovnik lived centuries ago. This event takes Dubrovnik back to the golden age of Renaissance and Baroque, the living spirit of theater and music, and many more, which have been bestowed on Croatian cultural and scholarly history. That’s why Dubrovnik is so good when it comes to tourist offers, they bring everything to everyone.

However, different tourists come with different tastes and in recent years there has been an increased interest in eastern Croatia, specifically Slavonia and Baranja, which are referred to as more ‘rural and folkloric’ regions. The Slavons and Baranians recognized the potential of these regions and began to adapt to the wishes and needs of tourists. Yes, they have designed and organized several new festivals which will be held for many years to come, but they have realized that their traditional festivals, which are very popular with lovers of all things tradition and locals, need more visibility.

Đakovački vezovi – Đakovo

Today, Đakovački vezovi is a well-known and affirmed manifestation of original folklore. The first demonstration took place in July 1967, within the framework of the International Year of Tourism and from the beginning the event was a great success with the inhabitants of Slavonia and elsewhere. The main event has retained its original date and is held annually in July. The content of the festival includes original folklore from Slavonia, Baranja, Western Srijem and other parts of Croatia with accompanying events such as the opening of various exhibitions, equestrian events and other cultural events and tourist. The whole city takes part in the event and in 2005 it received the International Tourism Charter (Charte Européenne Federation of Tourism Journalists based in Rome) Merits for Tourism. Thousands of folk costumes taken from the chest of oblivion, thousands of participants from Slavonia, Baranja, all over Croatia, even from Europe and the world, bring us songs, dances and customs from their homeland during decades in Đakovo. If you’re a foodie, you’re settled. Hundreds of different dishes are served and ready to be enjoyed. Wine lover? Several winemakers with their best wines are ready to show their products which reflect the beautiful and rich region of Slavonia. Artists, folklore, history buffs and even animal lovers can come to have fun, making it one of the most important and popular traditional festivities in Slavonia. For more details, check out their official website.

The opening of “Đakovački vezovi” in 2019 (photo credit: Photo Gallery – djakovacki-vezovi.hr)

Vinkovačke jeseni (Vinkovci Falls) – Vinkovci

Undoubtedly, the biggest cultural event in the region, arguably in Croatia and some would say, in this part of Europe. The first Vinkovačke jeseni was organized in September 1966 and quickly became one of the most famous festivals of its kind in all of Croatia. The foreground of the manifestation is the care of traditional folk dances, costumes and customs in order to preserve the various values ​​of the folk and traditional life of Slavonia. What is really interesting is that the event is organized in September because of autumn – a season that rewards Slavs for their hard work. After its foundation, the festival quickly began to connect all lovers of cultural heritage, not only Slavonia, but all regions of Croatia. Thus, every year hundreds of folk societies from Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and many more come to Vinkovci to present their culture to visitors. However, they didn’t stop there. The organizers recognized the tourism potential of their event and updated it for modern times, so apart from the main event which means a closure of Vinkovačke jeseni, the whole week before the opening is dedicated to its visitors! For example, the opening of the event is accompanied by a great performance of local theater with other guests from all over Croatia and in the evening concerts of the biggest stars of Croatian music begin, every evening from the week ! Personally, I watched the greatest Croatian artists on the Vinkovačke jeseni scene like Dino Dvornik, Severina, Jelena Rozga, Klapa Intrade, Giuliano, Prljavo Kazalište and many others. It really is for everyone. Then, when the spectacle of the event ends on the last day of the week with the biggest folklore parade in this part of Europe (nationally televised), with Croatia’s most popular folklore and traditional commentator, Branko Uvodić , every visitor feels enriched with Slavic tradition, cultural heritage, gastronomy, art, folklore and more. That is why Vinkovačke jeseni is one of the biggest traditional holidays in Slavonia and one of the best representatives of traditional Croatian cultural heritage in this part of Europe. For more details, visit their official page. If you want to know more about Vinkovci, check out this TCN article.

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Parade “Vinkovačke jeseni” – the main event of the last day (photo credit: Vinkovačke Jeseni – Facebook page)

Aurea Fest – Zlatne žice Slavonije (Golden Son of Slavonia) – Požega

In the middle of Slavonia is the town of Požega, located in the hilly parts of the region where none of the roads are straight – a place where the hills are dotted with roads. Surrounded by the old hills of Psunj, Papuk, Krndija, Dilj and Požeška Gora and home of the famous Croatian poet Dobriša Cesarić, it is not strange that this town is home to one of the greatest traditional, cultural and musical centers. folklore, tamburitza but also pop music events, which have been held in Požega since 1969, with a break between 1981 and 1990. Zlatne žice Slavonije today is a four-day event with more than 40,000 visitors and more than 100 accredited journalists from several of the countries. Songs, top wines, gastronomic events, concerts, exhibitions, art colonies, sports competitions, folk festivals and other events are slowly making Požega and the Golden Valley one of Croatia’s tourist destinations in September. It hosted several Croatian musicians (mainly “tamburaši”) like Gazde, Zlatni Dukati, Miroslav Škoro, Slavonske lole and many others. CDs and cassettes were quite popular at the time, which meant that almost every Slavic household had a copy of Golden Wires of Slavonia’s musical repertoire! So if you visit Slavonia definitely visit Požega in September – great content, songs, dances, food and most importantly people. The main event, the concert, is nationally televised on HRT each year. For more information, visit their official page.

For now, we stop here. There are many traditional festivities in Slavonia, but these three events are staples of traditional festivities in Slavonia and all of Croatia. From entertainment to gastronomy and sports activities, these events are unmissable events if you wish to visit Slavonia. The Slavic spirit cannot be recreated anywhere else, so if you want to relax more after a summer visit to the Adriatic, come to Slavonia, they will welcome you with open arms.

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