Fisherman’s Festivals in Croatia: Every Place Has Its Own Festival
Just like the famous Croatian song says cheerfully – every place has its own festival, and every place has its own day. In this case, we are talking about just a few summer days when the coastal towns and villages present their traditional cuisine, culture and customs to the locals and well-wishers. If the road takes you to one of the charming little places on the Adriatic coast, make sure you stop by during its local fisherman’s festival.
These festivities became very popular with the flourishing of tourism on the eastern Adriatic coast, and they are well-known for the seafood which is prepared live in front of visitors and served hot on the spot. Dishes are sometimes cooked in one huge pot set up on a busy location, and in other places these festivals are organized by the sea or on the main promenade, by setting up a numerous food stalls, where various chefs from local inns and restaurants prepare and serve fish-based dishes.
At fisherman’s festivals, you will certainly have the opportunity to taste several types of freshly caught small blue fish or white fish, which is often served with potatoes or chard-based side dishes. Although these combinations sound simple, the methods of preparation vary from place to place and even from one food stall to the other, which means that the variety of flavours is guaranteed. You will surely come across a few risottos, but also many local desserts, local wines, brandies and olive oils. All of this is available at affordable prices which makes fisherman’s festivals even more popular. Although it is customary to use local ingredients and traditional recipes to prepare those dishes, in recent years it has become more common to experiment with specialties and serve dishes in a new, more modern way.
It is not uncommon for fisherman’s festivals to be accompanied by a rich cultural and craft program during the day. That is a great opportunity for local artists, craftsmen and even athletes who mainly focus on performing traditional songs, crafts, games and the like, to present their knowledge and skills. Therefore, these events are not simply recreational, as they also help preserve the local heritage. In places with a rich tradition and a great interest of visitors, these festivities can last for several days.
Some of the oldest fisherman’s festivals have been held for almost half a century now, and one of them is the one taking place in Fažana. This fisherman’s festival is dedicated to the pilchard, a small blue fish that has represented food for local fishermen families for centuries. As part of the fisherman’s festival in Fažana, among many other things, one can learn how to salt pilchards, that is, how to store them in plastic containers covered with salt so that they could be used longer. The fact that Fažana has a park of sculptures dedicated to pilchards says enough about how much this little fish is important to this place.
Fisherman’s festivals on the islands are truly a special experience. The island of Krk is known as a fisherman’s island, so it is not surprising that in each of its ten small places you will encounter this type of festivity during summer. The island of Rab is no exception. At the Rapska fjera festival you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with the local culture, gastronomy and customs. Fisherman’s nights, which take place almost every week on this island, are reserved for local fishermen who then proudly present their catch as well as their cooking skills, while they prepare the very same seafood they caught.
From the far north of the Adriatic to its southernmost part, there is almost no place without its very own fisherman’s festival held in summer. It is a beautiful and special tradition of the Adriatic coast that everyone should attend, at least once, if they want to feel part of the traditional spirit of the local community.