Klapa Singing Under the Clock Tower – A Proud Tradition in Split

Total Croatia News

A seasonal singing tradition is once more upheld in Split.

On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, under the clock tower in Split various “klapa” signing groups traditionally gather to celebrate the holiday season with beautiful songs. Spontaneously, without any organized effort, members of various a cappella signing groups from Dalmatia come to perform for all the people of good will. Surrounded by ancient walls of the Diocletian Palace, they mostly perform well-known folk songs, so that everybody can enjoy them and sign along, reports Dalmacija News on January 3, 2016.

It is a unique tradition which promotes spontaneous klapa singing and spreads the atmosphere of joy and good will, which has almost completely disappeared from cities. This is a reason why the authorities should pay more attention to this tradition. Klapa signing is Croatian cultural heritage which is protected by UNESCO as world cultural heritage, just like Diocletian’s Palace among whose walls the songs are performed, so this tradition is also a sign of national pride which should make all inhabitants of Split proud.

However, as with many other examples, the attitude of the city towards cultural and traditional heritage is not always what it should be. In recent years, at the same time when the signing groups perform below the clock, at the nearby Pjaca loud holiday music is being played from speakers in a way which obstructs a cappella singers who perform just a few metres away. That is a clear expression of the general lack of respect for traditional identity.

This year, Split was a truly great destination during the Advent, Christmas and New Year season, with a nice atmosphere and various activities on the waterfront, Prokurative, Voćni Trg and the Pjaca, so it is a shame that not even a few hours during that month could be devoted to traditional klapa signing. It would be nice if the next year, during the performances below the clock tower, the speakers at the Pjaca would transmit these traditional folk tunes, which are part of the heritage which makes Split a truly unique and special city. Let Split be what it is: a living city – a city of culture – a UNESCO city.


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