Carnival parade in Rijeka


Rijeka is the third biggest Croatian city and its main seaport. Rijeka has also been announced as European Capital of Culture for 2020. The craziest time of the year to visit Rijeka is during the carnival or the so-called fifth season. The International Carnival Parade had its humble beginnings back in 1982 when only three masked groups paraded through the city. Now, more than a hundred masked groups from Croatia and other countries entertain more than a 150 000 visitors with their colourful costumes. The tradition of wearing a mask in the period before Lent in this region of Croatia goes back centuries. The most traditional costume is that of Zvončarimen wear animal skins and horns and big bells to scare away the winter and welcome in the spring. Zvončari are on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. You can see how they look like here.

A month of carnival activities includes Rijeka Carnival Queen Pageant, a masked ball, carnival dances, children’s carnival parade and carnival snowboard session in the center of the town as well as a masked car rally. The culmination of all this is the International Carnival parade which begins at noon and lasts until the evening. This year it was held on 11 February. Since we went with our baby we didn’t stay long so I don’t have a lot of photos to share with you. Therefore, I’m posting also some photos from the carnival of 2015.

I’m sure you’ve heard about Venice Carnival and Rio de Janeiro Carnival but now you also know about Rijeka Carnival. What distinguishes this carnival from all the others is that groups mainly make their own costumes which can be inspired by tradition, popular books and movies and quite often by the current political situation. For the locals the procession of Zvončari around suburbs of Rijeka and nearby villages is more important than the more recent carnival events. However, the main event for the tourists is the International Carnival Parade.

Photos from 2018 International Carnival Parade






Photos from 2015 International Carnival Parade


What do you say? Would you like to see the carnival in Rijeka?

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53 thoughts

  1. It’s always so interesting to see how Carnival is celebrated differently around the world. Rijeka’s celebration looks really fun and festive. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks like so much fun and those costumes are incredible. I used to live in New Orleans, which has their own carnival, but was unfamiliar with the fact Rijeka had one as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How nice to be in Rijeka during this carnival. We almost went to Rijeka last spring, when we visited Croatia. In the end we changed our mind because we were short on time. I hope I’ll return there someday. #TheWeeklyPotcard

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  4. I hadn’t even heard of the city of Rijeka! The carnival looks like so much fun. I love the colors and all the pagentry. I would love to experience it for myself. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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  5. Croatia is the number one country on my wish list, so I’m always excited about adventures there. This carnival looks like a lovely time, I’ll definitely be saving this for later! Thank you for sharing on #farawayfiles

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We could use some of those masked men to scare off winter around here! I’ve been to Karnival in Malta once, but nowhere else and I love reading about how other countries celebrate it! #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This looks like a wonderful carnival, Tanja, and I bet it’s a lot less crowded than some of the more famous carnivals around the world. I love the float with all the sweets on it – looks as though it should belong in the Land of Sweets from The Nutcracker. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love how traditional this seems – so many carnivals have a long history but seem to have lost that to be a huge party so wonderful to see the old costumes and how unique it is to the city. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    Liked by 1 person

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