The village of Čeprljanda on Ugljan island is known under the motto “I’ve been around, and I still like it best here.”
Croatian can be a difficult language for foreigners. Hard to pronounce, seven different cases, lots of diacritics – no wonder people trip over certain words and give up after the first try. That’s all fun to observe from a Croat’s perspective, but sometimes, even we can come across a mouthful. Meet Čeprljanda, a charming village on Ugljan island whose inhabitants seem to be a feisty, optimistic crowd of enthusiasts.
Čeprljanda is one of nine small villages scattered around Ugljan town, and it allegedly gets its quirky name from a plant that’s called ‘čeprlj’ by the locals. Out of those nine villages, Čeprljanda is the first you’ll reach on your way from the ferry port in Preko to Ugljan town; a dreamy little bay houses a small port and is lined with houses and beaches.
As hinted in the intro, the residents are not your average passive, complaining Croats. People of Čeprljanda like to constantly think of new ways to improve the quality of life, enrich the community and preserve local tradition. They organise various manifestations, invest in their village’s development, and take care about the environment – an all-around likeable bunch.
One of the first Croatian words you do need to memorise is fešta: it’s a name for a party, one of the local folk festival sort. Next weekend, Čeprljanda will throw a large fešta, their traditional summer bash that takes place from August 3-5 this year. Events have been in planning for the whole year, especially since the beginning of July; the stakes are high, as the Čeprljanda fešta is widely known as one of the most popular and best visited summer folk festivals in the whole archipelago of Zadar.
The first one was organised in 1979, and after the successful trial round, the residents made it into a tradition taking place on first Saturday in August each year. These days, planning is taken care of by the local association Idro, founded in 2008 with the goal of further improvement and development of the beloved village.
Here’s a programme for the upcoming fešta:
Thursday, August 3
21:00 karaoke party ‘Čeprljanda Idol’
concert of GE DO RE
Friday, August 4
19:00 Festival of island produce
20:00 animation programme for kids
22:00 evening of Dalmatian songs and food ‘for the soul’, concert of Dalmatino group from Zadar
Saturday, August 5
boat procession from Čeprljanda to Sušica bay
20:00 Big Game Cooking – traditional Dalmatian cuisine
21:00 concert of Giuliano
00:00 ceremonial fireworks
Lots of music, even more food and wine, some sailing, spiced up with a lot of good spirit and camaraderie. If you get a chance to hop to Ugljan next weekend, keep Čeprljanda in mind. In the meantime, take a look at the following photos showing what the festival looked like a couple of decades ago:
Photo credit: Čeprljanda Idro