Imotski welcomes Easter.
Easter is getting closer, so let’s look at the traditions related to this time of year that take place in the Imotski region.
Two great traditions are the procession on the Palm Sunday, and the evening procession on Good Friday with an actual performance of the Passion of Christ.
The procession on Palm Sunday takes place annually in the morning. Before the procession, one thing people do is wash themselves in water with spring flowers. The participants dress up as Jesus, the apostles, and in various outfits from back during those times. They carry palm branches and olive branches with small handmade birds that are blessed and taken home.
The handmade birds represent the tradition in itself – this custom has been passed down from generation to generation since the mid-19th century. These birds are made from fig cores (srcica) and this custom even could become heritage itself.
The evening of Palm Sunday is the time for the Passion of Christ performance where many actors play roles in the events of Good Friday. The performance showcases scenes from famous Last Supper, the trial in front of Pontius Pilate, the way of the cross, and the crucifixion in front of Topana fortress. Imotski is dark as all the public lights are switched off and there are just torches set around the city that light the way to the procession.
The procession takes place once again on Good Friday and the evening procession on that day is the most important religious gathering in the whole year. Traditional passion songs like are sung during the procession. This singing is based on Dalmatian traditional singing that originates from glagolitic tradition. These songs are also sung in the church of St. Francis during the mass. People begin on the procession from their own parish churches and they walk in prayer following the cross.
One more song that can be heard on Good Friday is the lamentation of the Virgin Mary, which is based on texts from the 15th century. The singing of this two-tone song is similar to the singing heard during the UNESCO protected ”Za križen” which takes place on the island of Hvar. In Imotski, it’s a great honour for each and every individual to be a singer, or to carry the cross on this several kilometre long procession.
The Easter breakfast table always has what is often referred to as ”blessed” food: eggs, spring onions, asparagus and sirnica bread. Traditional lunch includes lamb soup, and cooked or roasted lamb called Easter Lamb.
SOURCES (text and photos): Jagul Wine Cellar, Maja Delic Peršen, Stipe Šurlin, Nikolic family