Festivals in Croatia
Rijeka Carnival (January/February)
Rijeka Carnival is the biggest and most colourful in Croatia, and always starts the year off with a spectacular bang. Celebrations begin in mid-January and continue well into February, with a series of parades and celebrations.
It starts with local men dressed in animal skins, the UNESCO-listed zvončari, chasing away evil spirits by clanging huge cowbells. Originally celebrated by the Hapsburgs in the 1800s – then forgotten – the carnival was revived in 1982, when three groups of masked men walked down Korzo to the bemusement of locals.
Now, hundreds of thousands of spectators line the streets to cheer a kaleidoscope of floats, masked revellers and accompanying musicians. The big event is the International Carnival Parade, which kicks off on the last Sunday of February. It takes the whole afternoon for floats to pass along the main streets and reach the canal, where partying continues well into the night.
Zagreb Festival of Lights (March)
Every March, the already beautiful city of Zagreb becomes a canvas for artists who use the latest light projection technology to paint the city in light. The historical centre is illuminated with colourful and quirky images, and throughout the city you’ll find breathtaking light installations and concepts.
Because the festival is held every spring, most of those concepts evoke awakening, new life and growth. After a long winter, Zagreb buzzes with life, with locals and visitors taking to the streets to admire the artworks and celebrate that the warmer weather is coming.
Now in its fourth year, the festival attracts light artists and travellers from all over the world - shedding new light on this stunning city, quite literally.
Easter Food Festival in Rovinj (March/April)
Croatia is a deeply religious country, so Easter is already one of its biggest celebrations. No more so than in Rovinj, where they combine Easter with Croatia’s other great passion – food – in a three day festival of gastronomy.
The focus is on Croatia’s edible Easter delights, such as pinca, fritulica and painted eggs. Visitors get the chance to sample them for free. You’ll also be encouraged to take part in the local tradition of exchanging real and chocolate eggs with one another. All the while, a brass band and the Rovinj Majorettes play joyful tunes to spread the Easter cheer.