The Bellmen and Croatian Carnival Festivities

HTZ - Ivo Pervan

THE BELLMEN or ZVONCARI in Croatian, are one of Croatia’s many pride and joys that you can find on UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List.

The Bellmen is traditional folk custom typical for Croatian region of Kvarner.

The custom dates back to pagan antiquity where the primary task of the Bellmen was to scare away evil spirits of winter and rouse new spring time cycle. There are many stories and legends to be told about the Bellmen but one of the most mentioned one is the legend that Zvončari scared away invading Tatars and Turks. According to the legend local shepherds put masks on their heads, belted on bells, and produced a deafening noise that scared the enemy away.

It is quite an experience to see the Bellmen in live and performing during the International carnival in Rijeka when they are dressed in the traditional outfits that includes white trousers, striped shirt, and a sheepskin throw. In their hands they hold a “balta” or “bačuka” – a stylized mace, and around the waist one or more big brass bells making the famous noise.

Come and join us on our one day tour adventure throughout Kvarner and Istria and come to celebrate with our bellmen and enjoy famous truffle delights.