At the beginning of each calendar year, or to be more exact, on the first Sunday after the Epiphany feast day, carnival madness begins in Kvarner. The local population loves and cherishes their carnival tradition and customs. The first records of masked balls held on Krk date way back to the 14th century!
The masks and the style have changed over time, adapting to the modern times and social customs, but the very essence of putting on masks has always been the same - according to the ancient beliefs, the young men would put on scary masks to drive away the evil spirits of winter and clear the area before spring and agricultural works.
Goodbye to sanity – a big welcome to madness
The time of madness starts once the flag is lifted and the masked carnival doll (Cro. mesopust) embodying all troubles and problems of the local area and population endured over the past year is displayed. Lately, the keys to the city/municipality are symbolically handed over to the head of the carnival, the leader of the party and procession. During the carnival festivities each town on the island organizes its own weekend feast with live music performances. Wearing a mask is a must and an opportunity to show all the imagination, uniqueness and creativity put into the creation of masks. Carnival associations prepare their masks for several months in advance! The goal is always the same: to be original and funny – so humorous masks alluding to the current social and political situation are often the most successful ones at the best mask award show.
In addition to dancing all night long, the masked carnival goers take part in various games and raffle. It is a time to unwind and have fun dancing in disguise. One of the most famous carnival sayings is "Goodbye to sanity – a big welcome to madness!" Each town competes in the organisation of the masked ball hoping it will be remembered as the craziest and the most joyful carnival feast.
Each feast has to have a good selection of food and drinks, in addition to good music. According to the custom, a toast is raised with the traditional Krk wine žlahtina and the culinary delights include the local mutton specialties, first-class prosciutto and a wide cheese selection, with fried pastries, fritule and kroštule, served as dessert.
Thanks to the vicinity of Rijeka you can add a visit to the largest European carnival gathering over a hundred masked groups and 10 000 masked procession goers each year to your vacation on the island of Krk. There is no way to experience the madness of that Sunday through a photograph or a TV broadcast – you simply have to be there and feel that positive energy and joy.