Svete Duje (pronounced sve tea du-yeah) sees celebrations in the city of Split for their Patron Saint.
If you love a good old-fashioned celebration, you'll fit right in at the city of Split. It may not be as much of a party as Ultra Europe, but you're still guaranteed a good time (and probably less of a hangover).
Known in English as St. Domnius, there are many theories surrounding who Sveti Duje actually was. Locals believe he was a student of Peter the Apostle, though historical information suggests he was a bishop of Salona in the 4th century, and was martyred under the rule of Emperor Diocletian. Regardless, part of his gravestone is kept in Split's Archeological Museum.
The celebration is made up of the 'Patron Day' and a series of events which take place in the lead up to, and after the day of Sveti Duje.
The Patron Day begins with a religious procession, which marches past the St. Domnius Cathedral within the walls of Diocletian's Palace and is followed by Mass. Noon (and the clock strike) marks the end of Mass, and the church bells chime to signify the beginning of the festivities. Traditional craft stalls line the Riva Promenade, selling unique crafts, candies, souvenirs and food. Tickets are sold for the tombola; a bingo-style game where guests can win money when the evening draws in. A traditional concert takes place in the evening and tango dancing can be experienced at Peristil. The festivities at Riva are closed with a fireworks display; painting the sky to the sounds of the concert, which continues to the early hours.
One of the main events that usually takes place in the lead up Sveti Duje is the rowing event. International crews of students are brought from across Europe to compete in two races. The first is from the university eights, and the second 'Legends' Race' sees legends of Oxford, Cambridge and Split battle it out. Rowing isn't the only sporting event Split has to offer during the period of festivities, with the likes of a parachuting show, free climbing open championship and veterans basketball tournament having made an appearance in recent years.
If sports aren't your thing, you can celebrate with the traditional flower festival which takes place in the Diocletian Palace, visit workshops and book presentations in libraries, see exhibitions in museums and watch theatre productions in the Croatian National Theater. Located in Zagreb, the theatre is around four hours from Split, so it's probably not one to do on the day of Svete Duje itself. Productions of 'Spl'ski Akvaral' are common, as it is the most popular opera in the city's history, so maybe work this in a few days after the event.
Finally, one of the most renowned events is the feast in Veli Varoš, which includes traditional food and music. The feast continues into the week after Svete Duje, until the Day of Marjan Hill.
Okay, we may have lied about the hangover with celebrations continuing until the early morning, but wouldn't you rather be hungover in the name of history?
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