LASTOVO - CARNIVAL ISLAND

Separated by sea from modern times, the islanders have preserved their customs and traditions and are proud of their long history. Read more about one of the islands' many peculiarities - POKLAD, the four-century-old Lastovo carnival. Join us in our fictional journey to the island of Lastovo and you might decide to visit Lastovo this very spring! Poklad is the traditional Lastovo carnival and takes place, as all other carnivals, while awaiting spring, when the tranquility of winter gives way to the next cycle of life. The origins of all carnivals go back to Roman Dionysus festivities dedicated to the exuberance of life, the awakening of the forces of nature, and the birth of spring. In the Christian world, carnivals are considered to be the opposite of the upcoming Easter period when believers strengthen their humility through fasting. The origins of the Lastovo carnival go back to a historical event, suitable for the carnival festivities due to its symbols and outcome. Legend has it that Catalan pirates attacked Korcula and sent a messenger to Lastovo to tell the islanders to surrender for they would be next. The inhabitants of Lastovo did not let themselves be intimidated - they armed themselves and went on the attack. The women and children prayed to St. George for help and their prayers were answered: a storm destroyed the pirates' ships and the inhabitants of Lastovo caught the messenger. In order to mock him, he was taken through the village on the back of a donkey and was afterwards sentenced and burned to death. The festivities follow a detailed pattern: in the early morning on the Monday before Lent, the Poklada doll is made. The body is filled with straw and grain husks, while the feet are filled with sand from the local cemetery. The doll is then dressed - a red costume and fez hat - the face is drawn in with coal, and a cigarette is placed in the mouth. Afterwards, the carnival participants go from door to door collecting eggs and entertaining their hosts.

When on the following day, Tuesday, the church bells announce noon at 11 o'clock, the entire village stops what they are doing, they all take a rest, and the carnival participants start playing their lyres. The carnival procession is accompanied by music for the rest of the carnival festivities. The doll is placed on the most beautiful village donkey. The flag bearer, the donkey and the carnival participants make their way towards City Hall (in the past to the Dubrovnik Rector) in order to get permission to visit respected locals. The procession pays them a visit and a sword performance takes place at dawn on the field by the church. Afterwards, the carnival participants join in a circle dance shouting at the top of their lungs until they run a stake through the doll and set it on fire. When the doll has finished burning, the islanders head home and the church bells mark the end of the carnival.
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