Trades and Traditions

容janski Zvon潻ri, 1956
(Courtesy of Antony Sankovic - guitarist, middle row left)

Folk Histria - In Search of its Identity
容jane's Shrovetide]

Carnival Festivities are part of 容jane's rich tradition. 容jane is a small village in the hinterland of Rijeka (Fiume) and Opatija (Abbazia) in the foothills of the 韉潻rija mountain massif along the road which connects that region with northwestern Istria. The name of the village was mentioned for the first time in the 14th century. Today 容jane has a unique distinction in the region because we have saved the 容jane's language (Istro-Romanian) originally spoken by the inhabitants who settled in this region in the 16th century while escaping the Turkish invasions.

Carnival Festivities begins in 容jane on the Adoration of the Magi (Epiphany), when the first Carnival bells ring to signal the beginning of the "Mesopust" or "Pust," also known as Shrovetide. The most important part of this tradition are "Zvon醀ri" (The Bell Bearers). These Zvon醀ri are different from other Bell bearer groups because of their equipment and their dress, as well as of the harmonious tolling of their bells which are very pleasant to one's ears. 

Let us describe their dress. They wear white trousers and sailor`s undershirt or sleeveless shirts. An indispensable part of their equipment are the "靴ba" (sheepskin) and the three bells called "klopote" in the 容jane language. The Bell Bearers wear the bells on their hips (one on each side and one on the back tied together with a rope). On their heads they have a "kumarak" (hat) which is decorated by "bajera" (paper ribbons of various colours). The ribbons stretch down to their feet. The top of the hat is ornamented by flowers and small paintings adorned with love motifs. Every Bell Bearer has in his hand a wooden stick with a "bo潻" (a type of ball) on the top.

At the time of carnival, Zvoncari call upon the neighbouring villages and the houses in 容jane. By that gesture they symbolize fertility and coming of spring after long and severe winter.

Today people (young and old) of 容jane form the Last Day of Shrovetide Group, called "容janski-師oncari" (The Bell Bearers of 容jane). A folk group is also included in this group in addition to a musical group which practices "bugarenje", a two-voice harmony singing in the 容jane language. In addtion to the costumes of the Bell Bearers, there is the "Po鋨njenka", the richly decorated peasant costume representative of authentic wealth. Historically, daughters of richer families wore this garment only during holidays and festivities or celebration.

Bell Ringers at 2004 Carneval

In this way 容jane continues the tradition and authenticity of the Bell Bearers along with their visits to the neighboring villages. These customs and traditions are preserved and most importantly are being forwared to our young people for future generations.

Mauro Doricic (edited by Denis Sankovic)

容jane 84A
容jane 51212
Tel. 734-117


  • July 13, 1999, © 1999 Glas Istre, courtesy of Denis Sankovic
  • Color photograph - - Carneval 2004

Related links:

  • Denis Sankovic music collection.(includes samples of music of 容jane and 容janski-Zvoncari)
  • - Karneval u Opatiji (Hrvatski) - - Carnival in Opatija (English), includes a sample of Zvoncari music

Other links:

  • - Zvoncarima (Hrvatski)
  • - 姍oromati, Podgrad - Celebration of Shrovetide in Slovenian istria (in Slovenian and English)

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This page compliments of Mario Demetlica and Denis Sankovic

Created:Thursday, August 19, 1999; Last updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Copyright © 1998, USA