While elsewhere carnival traditions are reduced to masked parades and drinking, carnival on Lastovo – known as Poklade - is a unique, for centuries preserved multi-day folk event. Everything takes place according to very strict centuries old ritual, in memory of the event from 1483 when the Catalanes (a common name for the Catalans, Sicilians and other mercenaries) intended to attack, rob and conquer Lastovo, which was at that time part of the Dubrovnik Republic.
Lastovo Carnival is protected by the Act on the protection and preservation of cultural goods of 17.01.2008. as intangible cultural heritage (list of all intangible cultural heritage).
The symbol of freedom. Local legend says that after a failed attempt to conquer the town of Korcula, Catalan pirates sent a Turkish messenger to Lastovo to tell the islanders to surrender or they would be next. The inhabitants of Lastovo did not let themselves be intimidated – instead, they armed themselves and attacked. Women and children prayed to Sv. Jure (St. George) for help and their prayers were answered: a storm destroyed the pirates' ships and the inhabitants of Lastovo caught the messenger. In order to mock him, he was taken through the village on the back of a donkey and was afterwards sentenced and burned to death. This event is celebrated at the Carnival every year over a period of two days just before lent.
First recorded mention of the Lastovo carnival dates back to the 16th century. In 1597, the Prince forbade the often riotous carnival crowd to bear arms. Those who disobeyed his decree ran the risk of being banished from the island.
Pearl of the island's cultural heritage. In honor of this event, every year on Shrove Tuesday, after a 3 day ceremony, islanders burn a doll made of straw. For centuries, the Carnival customs occur in the same way as a real, authentic folk performance/story in several pictures. The Lastovo Carnival is not a passing trend of modern times - it is the pearl of the island's cultural heritage.
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