JenSop: The Singing Traveler!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

Croatian Maškare!

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Maškare!

During this most recent visit to Miloš’ home town, it just so happened that it was during the time of year when they have Maškare.  [MASH-kah-reh]  This literally translates as “masquerade.”

I wanted to do a blog post just about this tradition, as it is SO different from anything else we have back home in the States.  I thought my American readers might get a real kick out of hearing about it.

Basically, every weekend leading up to Lent, there are special events that take place on the weekends.  There is a band of drummers that go around the town in the afternoon and evening on each Saturday and Sunday during this time period (but they’re also sometimes out on Thursdays and Fridays) – sort of like carolers at Christmas, only they are playing drums and singing traditional Croatian songs.  They are dressed in matching costumes.  There were all ages – the older veterans, along with the little kids who were there to learn the tradition.

Then, every Saturday night, there is a giant masked dance event.  Everyone dresses up in costume, goes to a big tent set up in town, and a band plays Croatian music while all the people dance and drink.  (And eat.) I feel I should elaborate a little more on how the whole “going out” thing works over here.  In the USA, with a few exceptions, bars close at 2am.  And certain ages tend to go out to certain kinds of places.  Here, it’s pretty much an anything-goes kind of mentality.  First, bars are open until 4 to 6am.  And all ages go out that late.  At Maškare, there were ALL ages – from teens to people in their golden years – dressed up and having fun dancing and drinking.

This tradition of Maškare has been going on for hundreds of years and is specific to this region of Croatia.  It alternates as to how many weekends it covers – alternating 5-7-9.  So this year, there are 5 weekends of Maškare leading up to Karneval (Carnival), next year there will be 7 weekends, etc.  I kind of felt like it was Halloween on steroids – all those people, dancing around in costumes and getting drunk until 6am – every week.

And since things really kick in later over here, most people go out to the bars (in their costumes) before heading over to the tent.

So a typical Maškare night goes something like this….

-Start getting ready (costume and make-up) a little before 9:00pm while “warming up” at home (aka, starting to drink a little.)  Then you may head over to someone’s house for a bit too for more warming up.

-Head out to the bars around 10pm (usually visiting 1-3 bars or so, depending on what everyone wants to do.)  The night of my first Maškare, we went out with a large group of people and visited two different bars.  Then next weekend, it was just Miloš and I, and we only went to one bar before going to the tent.

-Between about midnight and 1:00am, you head to the tent.  At the tent, there is a live band playing Croatian music. I’m not able to post video to the blog, but I did post a short video clip to my Facebook page for those who would like to check it out.  (It’s posted as public, so everyone can see it.)  Some of the music is modern, some is traditional, but it’s all in Croatian.  The band is in costume, just like all the revelers.  And the tent is HUGE, with several bars in it, and a pizza stand.  (That pizza is seriously good!)  There are also full restroom facilities.  The tent is heated, so even in the wintery cold temps, you’re not freezing.  (Although I did recall feeling a bit cool a few times.)

The first time I went, we were out super late.  Honestly, I’m not exactly sure as to what time, as I had a bit too much to drink, and the night took a turn for the worse as a result.  (Although it was super fun leading up to that point!)  The second time, we were there until about 4:30am.

Overall, it’s a fabulously unique tradition and I was so glad to get to experience it.  As a performer, I LOVE getting into costumes and dressing up, so it was fun to be able to do that.

Here are some pics from my two times at Maškare….

FIRST WEEKEND:

We went as gangsters for my first weekend

We went as gangsters for my first weekend

We went as gangsters for my first weekend

We went as gangsters for my first weekend

At the bar before going to the tent

At the bar before going to the tent

Inside the tent

Inside the tent

Partying in the tent...

Partying in the tent…

Partying in the tent...

Partying in the tent…

Partying in the tent...

Partying in the tent…

Gangsters!.

Gangsters!

********

SECOND WEEKEND:

(For the second weekend, the weather was insane with the Bura winds, so we went light on the costumes – basically we just dressed up extra fun.  I was bummed a bit, as I had taken my Tinkerbell costume to wear (wings and all), but I didn’t want it to get destroyed in the wind and rain.)

Dancing at Maškare!

Dancing at Maškare!

This pic shows a little more of the inside of the tent.  My hair was being blown by the giant heating fan.

This pic shows a little more of the inside of the tent. My hair was being blown by the giant heating fan.

Maškare!

Maškare!

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Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And last year, I started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm married to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

One thought on “Croatian Maškare!

  1. Pingback: Croatian Maškare 2014 | JenSop: The Singing Travel Agent!

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