On the 11th of February 2017, thousands of miles away from Split, a very special event took place in San Pedro, California.
Bila noć Hajduka (literally translated – The White Night of Hajduk) was organized in the Croatian American Club as the legendary Hajduk celebrated its 106th birthday.
Little did the founders know, back in 1911, that people would show such dedication and support even outside their beloved country and meet every year to raise their glasses to this amazing club.
The event started with cocktails and aperitifs giving a chance for all guests to chat and catch up. By the time I deciphered which Dalmatian accent belongs to which city or county, it was already time for dinner. Delicious calamari, seafood risotto and the typical meat and potatoes dish (pečenje) transported me to sunny Croatian days along the Adriatic coast.
After hearing all the wonderful stories of the people around me, it was time to enjoy the auction of autographed NBA and Hajduk jerseys. I was outbid for a signed Hajduk jersey, which was sold for the head-spinning amount of $1000.
The auction was followed by Nova band, which performed various Croatian hits. At some point, in between dancing, I turned around to see all of the seats empty as every single person was either chatting by the bar or dancing. Leave it to the Croatians to make a party as fun as it can be.
There is really not much more to say except for – Hajduk živi vječno, Bog i nitko više.
For a sample of the atmosphere, check out this video from www.croatiansports.com.