Hvar Celebrities, UNESCO Processions and the Paparazzi

Total Croatia News

Of all the cultural differences I have experienced on Hvar, none has me more fascinated than the local mentality when it comes to visiting celebrities and crossbearers at Jelsa’s annual UNESCO Easter Procession. 

Hvar is famous for its very relaxed approach to celebrities. No hordes of paparazzi hounding them as happens elsewhere, and they are generally allowed to relax and enjoy the island without being harrassed. It is a policy which I think is great, and it helps to develop that special feeling in Hvar Town, where backpakckers share the same experience as the super yacht owners, albeit with different budgets…

Celebrities can generally expect to be left alone on Hvar, and as long as you are not a British prince drunkenly falling into a nightclub swimming pool, you can be expected to be left alone a little more than elsewhere. But even in the case of the infamous Prince Harry episode, the local reaction was very interesting. Several local restaurants banned the paparazzi who sold the story from their restaurants, as they were unhappy that a celebrity had been subjected to the media exposure.

And then there is the Easter Procession on Hvar, perhaps the most important religious event of the year. If the privacy and dignity of celebrities should be respected, so too that of the crossbearer embarking out on a long night of physical endurance and spiritual intensity, surely?


Even though some of them are good friends and colleagues of mine, the behaviour of some of the paparazzi is quite shocking, getting as close as is physically possible to the crossbearer, with flash after flash in his face to divert his concentration from the most important event perhaps in his life. I have never understood why this allowed, or rather why the code of ethics towards foreign celebrities is so different towards this most holy local tradition. 

Of course I am a foreigner, so what right do I have to an opinion? But here is the opinion of someone perhaps worth listening to, a former crossbearer on his experience, in an interview for Google News:

“Local people here want their peace, especially during these holy days, so the multitude of cameras and reporters running from all Croatian media within 24 hours in this little spot, just annoy them. Well, you will see on Thursday night. Photo reporters jumping in front of the Cross bearer, flashing him and his companions (making them blind in the dark etc.), not respecting our protocol and security… It just makes people refuse the media and the foreigners who came here for one “cool” night hiking, without praying or even at least respecting our customs.”

Is there any possibility this year that the paparazzi could imagine the crossbearer is Tom Cruise from an ethics point of view, and leave him in peace?


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