Jelsa UNESCO Za Krizen Easter Procession Takes Place on Hvar (VIDEO)

Total Croatia News

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An important religious tradition with more than 500 years of history continues on the island of Hvar.

Unique in the world, Croatia’s premier tourist island of Hvar focused on religion and tradition on March 24, 2016 for the annual ‘Za Krizen’ (Behind the Cross) Easter Procession, which has taken place on the island every year for more than 500 years, and has been inscribed as UNESCO intangible heritage since 2009. 

Starting at 22:00 on Maundy Thursday, six simultaneous processions depart from Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirce, Vrbanj and Vrboska, as pilgrims follow a crossbearer and his acolytes on a 22 kilometre pilgrimage through the night through along a route which takes in the churches of the other communities taking part, before returning to their original location about 07:00 the following morning, with the last steps taking by the exhausted crossbearer in the form of a run to the awaiting. TCN was in position overlooking the main square in Jelsa this morning for the closing steps of the Jelsa procession – see the video below. 

Easter is a time of extreme joy in Jelsa, as extended families return home from Zagreb to celebrate this important Catholic feast. It also symbolises the first awakening of this tourist island after the winter hibernation. One interesting happening from Maundy Thursday until Easter Sunday is that the church bells, which ring hourly all year, fall silent for those days leading up to Sunday, when the joy and celebration of Easter is more than matched by the enthusiastic peeling of the bells after days of silence. 

TCN conducted an interview with a previous crossbearer to learn more about the tradition (which you can read here), as well as a look at this year’s Jelsa crossbearer, Toni Milatic.

Happy Easter from Jelsa

Posted by Paul Bradbury on Thursday, 24 March 2016


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