Hvar - UNESCO island

Procession Za križen

Procession Za Križen (Following the Cross) is a unique expression of special piety, and an important part of religious and cultural identity of the inhabitants of the middle part of the island of Hvar, that is held in an uninterrupted sequence for five centuries. The Procession Za križen is unique in its form – it consists of six different processions which start at the same time in six parishes: Jelsa, Pitve, Vrisnik, Svirče, Vrbanj and Vrboska. Processions move clockwise and finish with returning to their own parish churches. It is very important that they never meet; otherwise it would be a sign of great misfortune.

The cross bearer is at the head of the Procession, carrying the Cross covered with a black veil. That honour is determined as much as 20 years in advance. The cross bearer is followed by his helper (usually a family member), carriers of large candles (torci) and lanterns, procession leader (batistrada) and singers. The backbone of the Procession is the Gospin plač (Lamentations of the Virgin Mary), octosyllabic Passion text from the 15th century sung in the form of music dialog by chosen singers, kantaduri. All are dressed in white confraternity tunics. They are joined by a multitude of pilgrims from all over the island, carrying candles and rosaries. Other locals wait for the Processions and with them sing and take part in the prayers.

Procession Za križen was inscribed in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009.

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