On the 23rd of February I visited the most fantastic event I have ever seen in my life – Sunday’s International Carnival Parade in Rijeka. Nowhere in the world I was able to experience such a distinctive blend of a European civil carnival based on historical and cultural customs and elements of folklore and mythology.
The most spectacular carnival event in Rijeka is surely this parade. Sometimes it is described as the ‘fifth season of the year’, during which masks can be seen all over the town. This widely popular International Carnival Parade I had a pleasure to be a part of is the culmination of the Rijeka Carnival and includes numerous traditional masks, carnival groups and floats who cheer up the town’s Korzo promenade with their colourful masks. More than 10,000 people in over 110 carnival groups from Rijeka, other parts of Croatia and from abroad, dressed up in a range of colours, costumes and characters as they showed their creativity as they made their way on floats in downtown Rijeka. Competitions in humour and originality, fireworks of colours and shapes result in a parade of hundreds of allegorical floats, thousands of masks and a countless number of visitors from home and abroad.
Since the day it was organised for the first time, by the Rijeka Tourist Board, in 1982, the renewed Rijeka Carnival has, in the best possible way, continued with the centuries-long masking tradition in the Croatian Littoral and has placed the city on the Rječina River amongst the most important European carnival cities. Today the International Carnival Parade is a festival of traditional and urban carnival groups which operate as citizen’s associations and by their masks they tend to comment on actual social events. Happy to observe it from live-action performances.
The project “YOU are the EU” is funded by the Agency for Mobility and EU programmes withing the program European Solidarity Corps.