Every year from late January to early March, the Carnival festival takes place throughout the world. The celebration is a communal party just before a season of fasting. In Rijeka, Croatia, a party has been built that signifies tradition, celebration, and even a pronouncement of grievances from the past year. The town comes out to join in as well as travelers from across Europe.
The streets are prepped with bright colors, and cleared for the impending parties and parade during the Carnival season.
The people dress up in masks and costumes such as clowns dancing and playing through the streets.
Others reflect a more traditional feel in their costumes. The Rijeka Carnival brought guests from the Austro-Hungarian elite, German barons, and Russian princes and princesses.
Others go beyond the clowns and traditional garb, and dress in costumes reflecting a more modern persuasion. “Smurfs” and “Minions” were put on display this past year. The reflection of pop culture demonstrates the international appeal of the Carnival parade.
It seems odd to have a group dressed as inmates, however, the more modern Carnival parade carries a political feel. People take this time in the parade to express their feelings toward figures that have not performed to their liking. Even at the end of the parade, puppet named after the least liked politician will be set to sea with his bad deeds from the last year.
National heroes are celebrated as well. The Croatian national team was symbolized for the efforts that took them to World Cup later in 2014 in Brazil.
Dancing and music fill the Carnival parade in Rijeka, as it has since being revived in 1982. Established as an international affair in Rijeka, Carnival and the parade are a must when visiting the Balkans.
At the end, we say “Pozdrav!” Greetings! Cheers! Until next year.
All photos are taken by Truman Yu and used with his permission.