25 Reasons to Visit Jelsa in 2016. 3. Easter

Total Croatia News

After more than 12 years of continuous living on Hvar, I am spending more and more time away from the island in recent months. New projects in Munich and Zagreb are keeping me away from my favourite Dalmatian island and lovely Jelsa more than perhaps I would like, but it has also been good for me, for it helps to give me a different perspective. 

Every time I come home from two or more weeks away, the feeling is always the same – joy at the warming sunshine of Split (so absent in those more northern climes) and peace with the laganini lifestyle of the cutest pjaca on the Adriatic. 

But I have been feeling something else in recent weeks – homesickness for Easter in Jelsa, my favourite time of year in the town. 

It is a strange atmosphere to describe. For the religious, it is an inspiring way to spend Holy Week, from the unique UNESCO Za Krizen procession through Maundy Thursday night to the silence of the bells until the joy of Easter Sunday. And even for the non-religious visitor, one can’t help but be infected by the joy of extended families reunited, of the celebration of this most important Catholic festival. 

It is the time of year when the island begins to wake up from its hibernation. Spring is in the air, and the early swimmers take to the water. The fact that the clocks will go back on Easter Sunday will bring additional joy, as memories of those dark winter evenings are banished. 

The procession itself is an especially delightful atmosphere, whether you take part in it or are just on the periphery. As with previous years, I plan to spend the time on the square through the night, catching up with friends and then witnessing each of the other five processions as they pass through Jelsa through the night, before the arrival of the Jelsa crossbearer close to 7am, some 9 hours and 22km later. The atmosphere of the square as all the exhausted pilgrims relax and share their joy over morning coffee after their night-long exertions, is electric. (And a reminder of a polite request – PLEASE DON’T APPLAUD at the end of the procession – it is a religious experience, not a tourist event. Applause is not appreciated).

And then of course, there is the family joy of reunion. This year, for the first time ever, the entire clan of my in-laws will be assembled for the first time ever, some 13 of them in all. My brother-in-law is returning from the cruise ships in Australia and has already ordered the lamb…

Why would you spend Easter anywhere else… 


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