The city of Rijeka was just about to enter the so-called fifth season of the year – the carnival. St. Anthony’s Day on January 17th kicks off the festive season of carnival parades, costumed parties and related traditional customs such as the burning of the Pust effigy.
However, preparations came to a halt earlier today when the City of Rijeka announced that the two central events won’t be taking place in February as they usually do.
The International Carnival parade and the Children’s Carnival Parade were postponed until early summer 2022, as confirmed by Rijeka City Mayor Marko Filipović.
‘Unfortunately, due to the new strong wave of the coronavirus pandemic and the need to adhere to strict epidemiological measures, the Rijeka Carnival cannot take place in its full scope at present, which is why the central carnival events won’t take place at the time they usually do’, said Filipović.
The two parades won’t be cancelled in full this year, but have instead been rescheduled for early summer, a season in which a better epidemiological situation is expected.
‘The International Carnival Parade and the Children’s Parade are postponed until the beginning of the summer and I hope that the pandemic won’t mess with our plans again at that time. The same goes for the Charity Masked Ball, which was also rescheduled for the summer’, said Filipović.
He went on to add that some of the carnival events haven’t been rescheduled, such as the traditional ceremony that kicks off the carnival season in Rijeka: on Monday, the key to the city will be handed over to the Carnival Master.
Petar Škarpa, the director of the Rijeka Tourist Board, also commented on the City’s decision to reschedule the two grand parades.
‘Even though we all eagerly anticipate the carnival season, we’re aware that the present time is particularly challenging, that we have to be responsible and carefully consider the dangers that holding the Rijeka Carnival at this moment could cause. The epidemiological situation is dire all over the country and as long as that’s the case, the Rijeka Carnival cannot take place in the form that we’re used to. The carnival is a festival of costumes, joy, fun and gathering, and this is exactly what we need to give up temporarily, keeping in mind the health of our citizens and guests, as we hope to return to normal as quickly as possible’, said Škarpa.
The Tourist Board director also said that despite all their efforts to come up with an acceptable alternative way of holding the popular parades within the restrictions of the current epidemiological measures, it became clear that any alternative would mean forsaking the essence of the carnival – a day when people don masks to forget all their troubles and enjoy the festivities in absolute freedom.
‘We hope and believe that things will improve by summer and that we’ll be able to focus on sweeter kinds of worries, e.g. what costume to put on when it’s 25°C outside. Let’s use the months ahead to be even more creative and come up with new ideas that will further improve the quality of Rijeka’s best known tourism product’, said Škarpa.
He added that the Rijeka Carnival is proud to host carnival groups and interested visitors from all over the world each year, and expressed his hope that the new carnival dates will be seen as an opportunity by those who have always wanted to see Rijeka, but perhaps had no chance to visit the city thus far.
Small-scale events are moving forward according to schedule, such as the Carnival Days of Laughter, a programme of 4 attractive comedies to be performed at the HKD Sušak.